Chronology Current Month Current Thread Current Date
[Year List] [Month List (current year)] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Prev] [Date Next]

Re: [Phys-l] H. Sapiens

Wikipedia has excellent articles on this topic with appropriate references...

On 13 Oct 2010 at 13:41, Dr. Richard Tarara wrote:

I don't know how to do this really correctly, but I ran a spreadsheet
calculation, using a population growth rate of 1.5% (close to recent, far
from historical) and joining the creationists for the moment, started with 2
people! I then took the population every 50 years and added those to get
total numbers (approximating a 50 year life span averaged over the
centuries). The amazing thing is that you get to today's population in less
than 1500 years but you also get over 40% of the total humans to have lived
being alive today. While clearly recorded history goes back at least 10,000
years and the growth rate must have been much smaller at times, it was
during those times that the human population was very much smaller than now,
so I suspect the final result of about 40% is not that far off.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dr. Keith S. Taber" <>
To: "Forum for Physics Educators" <>
Sent: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 5:23 PM
Subject: Re: [Phys-l] H. Sapiens

Good question: I recall reading/hearing somewhere that 10% of all
human beings are alive today - but I don't recall how that was

And then similarly I've heard 90% of all scientists that ever lived
are alive today.

(I suspect there's material for some very poor joke in combining
those two - along the lines "...and the other 10% are human beings.")


I'd like to reprise the population topic briefly (for a change of pace).

Folks seem to have a pretty good set of data that is being fit to
exponential form.
I'm reminded of Al Bartlett's many talks and must ask a question.

Based on this exponential curve - about what percentage of the TOTAL
historical Homo Sapiens population is currently alive?

This shouldn't be a terribly difficult % to come up with.

thanks for indulging me.

Dr. Keith S. Taber

Author: Progressing Science Education - Constructing the Scientific
Research Programme into the Contingent Nature of Learning Science
(Springer: 2009)

University Senior Lecturer in Science Education

Science Education Centre
University of Cambridge Faculty of Education
184 Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 8PQ
United Kingdom

to join an electronic discussion list on
learning in science
please visit
Forum for Physics Educators

Forum for Physics Educators

No virus found in this message.
Checked by AVG -
Version: 10.0.1136 / Virus Database: 422/3194 - Release Date: 10/13/10