Click here to view the app on itunes (apple store)
Reviewed by Ian Mowll.
This is an app, currently on apple devices, but it is soon to be out on android. It is a walk from the formation of the Earth 4.6 billion years ago, through the appearance of life, the evolutionary leap to complex cells and multi-cellular life, through the reign of the dinosaurs, the emergence of mammals and finally the arrival of humans. Each metre of the walk is 1 million years and so the 4.6 billion year journey is 4.6 kilometres.
On turning on the app, you are greeted by the ‘scientist’ and the ‘fool’, both of whom help to guide you through the journey. And it is an amazing journey told so well by the narrators. The clever thing about the app is that it keeps track of your footsteps so it can let you know when you have arrived at various stages. I did the walk in a nearby park and it worked very well, I was able to sit on a park bench when there was a pause on the journey. In all the walk must have taken me a bit under 2 hours although you can, of course, pause the app and take a break.
The good thing abut the app is that the amount of science is about right. Not too much to overwhelm me but enough to engage my interest and to learn new things. For instance, I did not realise that the amount of oxygen in the atmosphere was much less than today for a long period of time.
Anyone who has done a Universe Story Walk will know that the appearance of human life happens at the very end, our existence is but a tiny piece compared to the vast amount of time beforehand. Doing the walk, I truly got the idea of how long it has taken for us to appear, how many challenges and transformations the Earth has had to go through, and how precious our planet is within the vast cosmos.
And, whilst the app is mainly science based, it also occasionally ventures into the mystical including our connection with the Earth. And I remember one sentence about our need to face climate change, otherwise human life may be ‘deselected’. So this app is a great way of inspiring action.
The app is competitively priced and, with all of the great content, is a real bargain. There is also an audio CD and a book of the walk both coming out in due course.
There may be future developments of the app. You can find out all about it and the latest news at deeptimewalk.org or sign-up to their eNewsletter.
This is a really wonderful app and it is a great way to engage with the Universe Story. Thoroughly recommended.