Life Timeline

For those born December 1, 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.

Year 82

You were born in December 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.


Around the time you were born, Germany dropped incendiary bombs on London, killing almost 3,600 British civilians.

In July 2011, Alan Taylor published a photo essay on the Battle of Britain.

Coming of age

Around your 18th birthday, the first communications satellite, SCORE, was launched into orbit.

In February 2012, Alexis Madrigal wrote about Earth Station, a giant decommissioned satellite receiver, part of the legacy of the era touched off by SCORE.



Man on the Moon

At 28 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.


Larry Downing / Reuters


In 2007, Nancy Pelosi, who was born the same year as you, became the first woman in American history to serve as the Speaker of the House of Representatives.

In September 2015, Andy Kroll wrote about Pelosi's unflagging enthusiasm for political work, and the consequences of her stamina—for her, and for the Democratic Party.


NASA / JPL-Caltech / Space Science Institute

Across the Universe

When you turned 66, 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: