Life Timeline

For those born November 20, 1939.

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 Superman.

In March 2016, Carmen Petaccio wrote about the changes in recent history to comic-book heroes, and how they correlate with times of despair in America.

Year 82

You were born in November of 1939. This year, The Atlantic celebrates its 160th birthday, making it 2 times as old as you.

The year you were born, Dr. X wrote about his experiences as a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp.


Around the time you were born, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Neutrality Act of 1939.

In July 2013, Susan Dunn wrote about the debate about U.S. intervention during World War II.

Coming of age

Around your 18th birthday, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik II into orbit, carrying the dog Laika, the first animal to go to space.

In December 2012, Kasia Cieplak Mayr von Baldegg posted a video imagining a different fate for Laika, who had been sent to die in orbit.



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 mass-produced personal computers.

In June 2015, David Sims wrote about how Apple and IBM convinced people to buy home computers in the 1970s and '80s.


Kieran Doherty / Reuters


In 1981, Ian McKellen, who was born the same year as you, won a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Play for his role in Amadeus.

In December 2013, David W. Brown wrote about the Broadway plays No Man's Land and Waiting for Godot. McKellen starred in both opposite his good friend Patrick Stewart.


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: