“With the London Olympics over, some Londoners are breathing a sigh of relief. During the games, Transport for London published an entire list of tube stations to avoid at peak hours. The list included many famous stations such as Baker Street, Charing Cross, Covent Garden, and Leicester Square. The person responsible for the fact that many of us are so familiar with the names of these underground hotspots was Harry Beck, who in 1931 designed what has become the iconic map of the London Tube. Breaking with the preceding tradition of placing the stations at correct geographic locations, Beck chose the order and theinterchanges of the stations as his main organizing principle. The resulting straight-line diagrammatic design survived to the present day (Figure 1), and has been copied by most other subway systems.
That was not the first time that a map has literally “changed the world” (a phrase coined by British-American author Simon Winchester). In 1815, English geologist William Smith published the first geological map of Britain (Figure 2). Smith’s map was revolutionary in that it demonstrated that rock layers, as identified by their embedded fossils, stretch along huge horizontal distances. These findings formed the basis for theories of the geological evolution and age of the Earth, and eventually were even a major contributor to Darwin’s theory of evolution ofthe species.”
- Mario Livio, world-renowned astrophysicist and author of the forthcoming BRILLIANT BLUNDERS: From Darwin to Einstein - Colossal Mistakes by Great Scientists That Changed Our Understanding of Life and the Universe
Read more at A Curious Mind.