Life Timeline

For those born January 31, 1940.

Not your birthday? Find your timeline here.

Before you were born

You're one of the first people who's never lived in a world without helicopters.

In June 2012, Brian Resnick wrote about University of Maryland's Colin Gore and the test flight of his human-powered helicopter.


Around the time you were born, Hans Frank, acting for the German government, ordered the registration of all Jewish-owned property in Poland.

In December 2012, Peter Osnos wrote about Polish Jews who were able outsmart the Nazis.

Year 82

You were born in January of 1940. This year, The Atlantic celebrates its 160th birthday, making it 2 times as old as you.

The year you were born, Arnold Whitridge wrote about the college undergraduates that petitioned the President not to intervene in Europe during World War II.

Coming of age

Around your 18th birthday, the first successful American satellite, Explorer I, was launched into orbit.

In June 2012, Megan Garber wrote about how humans imagined aliens at the beginning of the Space Age.




In 1964, John Lennon, who was born the same year as you, performed for the first time in the U.S. on The Ed Sullivan Show as a founding member of the Beatles.

In the July/August 2014 issue of the magazine, Joshua Wolf Shenk wrote about the brilliance of the creative collaboration between Lennon and Paul McCartney.



Man on the Moon

At 29 years old, you were alive to behold people walking on the moon.

Over the years, the moon landing has come to be lauded as the pinnacle of human achievement, although it was often derided at the time. In 1963, NASA astronauts took to The Atlantic to plead the case for landing on the moon.

Half a life ago

Your life can be divided into two halves: before and after "test-tube babies."

In October 2010, Cristine Russell wrote about the practice of in vitro fertilization (IVF) becoming more common.


NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

Across the Universe

When you turned 67, you watched humankind reach the outer solar system.

With NASA's Cassini-Huygens mission in 2005, humans landed a probe in the outer reaches of the solar system for the first time, a moment Ross Andersen called the most glorious mission in the history of planetary science.

History in the making

History is happening all around you, every day.

The Atlantic is here to help you process it, in stories like these: