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The Science Graphic Novel "Taming Time. A Golden Spike for the Anthropocene"  is based 
  • on Reinhold Leinfelder's course lectures on Earth History, Reefs and the Anthropocene, given at the Freie Universität Berlin and other places
  • and on the scientific studies of the Anthropocene Working Group advising the International Commission on Stratigraphy (belonging to the International Union of Geological Sciences).

Authors & Illustrator of the Graphic Novel:

Alexandra Hamann, Reinhold Leinfelder, Maki Shimizu

Fig. 1 Coverpage of Taming Time, Illustration by Maki Shimizu, ©TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator

Read more about the the authors and everyone involved on the Team page of this blog.


„It’s funny, visually rich, scientifically substantive, deeply human.“
Marcia Bjornerud, Prof. of Geology and Environmental Studies, Lawrence University, Appleton; book author of Timefulness: How Thinking Like a Geologist Can Help Save the World)

„Congratulations! This has been a long, amazing and now fully realized adventure which certainly gives a new dimension to the Anthropocene and to time...  it will be great for all the AWG members to see, as a reminder of our own (not always as beautifully drawn) adventure...

Jan Zalasiewicz, Prof. of Palaeobiology, University of Leicester; Chair of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) from 2009-2020

Wunderbar! Now that is how to finish a Friday. Not enough science has such fun things as this attached to it, we are very lucky.“

Simon Turner, Senior Research Fellow, Geography, University College London, Secretary of AWG

“The artistry is terrific, the message is important, a real tour de force”

Jaia Syvitski, Geology & Oceanography, University of Colorado, Boulder; member of AWG.

Jaia Syvitsky, Prof. of Geology & Oceanography, University of Colorado, Boulder; member of AWG

„Thank you so much for this ebook! Just in time for my geochronology class which will start soon. I am planning a lecture on Anthropocene and thanks to this ebook I see that it can be a fun lecture. Just perfect timing and fun approach to time, geological time and our time as AWG.“

Irka Hajdas, Senior Researcher, Geochronologist, ETH Zurich; member of AWG 

„Magnificent graphic novel about the Anthropocene!  I am a big fan of comic books and very excited to see all of us of the AWG as comic book characters. Very well done!“ 

Alejandro Cearreta, Prof. of Palaeontology, Universidad del País Vasco, Bilbao; member of AWG

„This is wonderful. It is important to see how the process [of the Anthropocene] unfolded.“

Francine McCarthy, Prof. of Micropalaeontology, Brock University, St. Catharines; member of AWG

This looks fantastic - congratulations! Will be sharing with my nonfiction comics making students next class!“ 

Nick Sousanis, Prof. of Humanities and Liberal Studies, San Francisco State University;  Author of "Unflattening.


This Science Graphic Novel is dedicated to Paul Crutzen† and Will Steffen† (both were active members of the Anthropogene Working Group until they have passed away), but at the same time also to all of my students of Freie Universität Berlin, Humboldt University Berlin, Pädagogische Hochschule Niederösterreich, and many others, who were so interested in my university courses on Earth History, Reefs, and especially on the Anthropocene concept. Thank you all for your overwhelming and stimulating interest.

Fig. 2. Meeting of Paul Crutzen† and Will Steffen† with Time (Illustration Maki Shimizu, ©TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator)

If you already eager to get your free copy, go to the eBook-Page of this blog, and download it from the Refubium server of the Freie Universität .

If you want to see more illustrations before and read about the contents of this Science Graphic Novel, continue below:

Here is an overview of the contents 

1. Preface: Time likes to wander around „unmeasured", refuses to be tamed and observes what those pesky geo-earthlings are up to, those golden spikes everywhere?

Fig. 3: The Earth System Changer (Illustration Maki Shimizu;
© TamingTime Authors/Illustrator

2. The Formidable Parliament of Time (the International Commission on Stratigraphy, ICS)

  • starts with the origins of stratigraphy: Nicolaus Steno, a later bishop, found out that younger sediments always appear above the underlying ones, that  sediments originally are deposited as horizontal beds, etc.; William Smith saw that fossil sequences change upwards in sediment piles and reckoned they could be indicators of relative time.  Then the first protagonists of radiometric methods for absolute age determination are described, opening the door to absolute time dating (under certain conditions)
  • Explanation of the chronostratigraphic chart, as a taming of time, with colour coding (e.g. Jurassic always blue) and Golden Spikes (GSSPs Global Boundary Stratotype Section and Point) used for definition of time slices or in the Precambrian times (due to strongly overprinted sediments) under GSSA. (Global Standard Stratigraphic Age, the small clock symbols).

Fig. 4: How Time started to be tamed by geologists (illustrated by Maki Shimizu, © TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator)

3. Earth System Changer: Many Earth System Changers, the "heroes" of Earth history, wnot only shaped the living conditions more and more towards the evolution of higher life incl. human life (e.g. methane atmosphere - sun did not radiate strongly at that early times, the Earth would have been frozen; later oxygen and grasses as a basis for the Neolithic), but also created many of our non-regenerative resources, which are so important for industrialisation: e.g. Precambrian iron ores (at least a good part of which was created unter helpful participation of bacteria), coal, limestone, petroleum, phosphates, etc. The colours of the "graphic dioramas" correspond to the colours of the Earth ages, so some of them contain several Earth periods to show the development, see below as an example for the Carboniferous ("coal age") and the Jurassic ("crude oil", "limestones" etc).

... how resources have been created, e.g. coals created by the first rain forests in the Carboniferous (green) and increasing quantities of plankton during the Jurassic (blue) were responsible for crude oil  production.

Fig. 5. "Heroes" of the Carbonian and Jurassic (illustrated by Maki Shimizu, ©TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator)

4 What have we done? The human-influenced Earth system episode reaches from the Pleistocene to the present day. The novel presents a major outcome, the the technosphere as the essential present-day sphere of the Earth system. 


Fig. 6: The completely different Earth System Changer (llustrated by Maki Shimizu, ©TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator)


5. The Anthropocene

  • introduces Paul Crutzen, as the "Father" of the Anthropocene in Mexico 2000; discusses the use of the term by many disciplines, the formation and tasks of the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG). 
  • presents the various proposed temporal definitions for the Anthropocene
  • focusses on the Great Acceleration,  featuring Will Steffen
  • digs into the methodology and standards for GSSPs, especially primary, secondary marker etc.

Fig. 7: The Anthropocene Working Group (Illustration: Maki Shimizu, © TamingTime Authors/Illustrator)

... discusses the increasing and then rapidly accelerating influence of humans on the Earth system....

Fig.8. Sediments over time, under the influence of humans. Illu: Maki Shimizu © TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator

6.  The Candidates

a) Presentation of all 12 candidates (sites across the world)

b) the AWG-Winner is...!  creating cheeky reaction of the other 11 sites that did not make it, pointing out the importance of auxiliary Sections for additional definition.

Fig. 9: The Candidates for getting the Golden Spike. Illu: Maki Shimizu, ©TamingTime-Authors/Illustrator

7 Epilogue: we show three possible scenarios (hopefully it will be Earthling's Paradise, as a "threesome between Biosphere, Technosphere and Earthlings). Well, time will tell... 


Fig. 10. Three perspectives on how we might live in the year 2100. (Illustration: Maki Shimizu, ©TamingTime-AuthorsIllustrators)

Want more? Then go to the eBook-Page of this blog, and download the "Taming Time"-Graphic Novel from the Refubium server of the Freie Universität.

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