Butte College students, faculty, and staff are invited to take a "Walk Through Time" as a new timeline of the universe is unveiled on Thursday, Sept. 5 from 2-3 p.m., in front of the fountain near the Life Sciences building, at the main campus, 3536 Butte Campus Drive.
The project was designed to help students conceptualize a timeline involving key events in the history of the earth and universe. Several Butte College faculty envisioned a representation students could use to grasp the history of our universe on a realistic time scale.
With input from faculty and students, biology instructor Katya Yarosevich, physics instructor Michael Panunto, and geology instructor Colin Ferguson developed a plan to create and helped raised funds to build a "Walk Through Time," which incorporates a concrete model with inlaid granite plaques depicting significant events in the history of the universe based on scientific knowledge.
The project begins near the Physical Sciences building and wraps around to the back of the Life Sciences building, across from the Learning Resource Center and is 417 feet long, representing 13.7 billion years spanning the age of the known universe. Literally, each foot of length represents 33 million years; the first human ancestors are thought to have arisen about 4 million years ago, or last 1.4 inches of the timeline.
At either end of the "Walk Through Time" major significant events occurred, and it was necessary to expand those places with additional granite panels. Each granite sectionutilizes different time scales other than the main "Walk Through Time." For example, the expanded section beginning with the "Big Bang" depicts only the first five minutes of the universe.
The second phase, in progress, is the creation of a webpage using contributions from Butte College student volunteers. This site will feature further information regarding each of the major events depicted in the "Walk Through Time."
The third phase will be the addition of a sundial embedded in the concrete near the universal timeline. The sundial markings will be embedded in the concrete, and each individual person will cast the shadow to read the time of day on the sundial.
"We encourage students and the public to take a 'Walk through Time' to better understand the major events in the history of the earth and universe," said Yarosevich. "We chose the location due to its proximity to the Physical Science and Life Science buildings so that it would both illustrate the physical and life aspects of the history of the universe and also be readily available for science classes."
Funds for this project were obtained from the Associated Students, Butte College Biology, Physics, Physical Sciences and Chemistry departments and individual donations.