"Tank Man" protester in Tienamen Square, Beijing China. This 1989 photo by journalist Jeff Widener captures one lone, unidentified civilian protestor standing his ground in front of a column of tanks. He was never seen again, but this image remains as the perfect symbol of human bravery in the face of the technological war machine.
Vietnamese girl Kim Phuc and her family run for their lives after being struck by a napalm bomb. This photo was taken in 1972 by Vietnamese journalist Nick Ut while working alongside U.S. wartime journalists. Kim survived and was re-identified many years later as a worldwide symbol of the horror or war and the power of forgiveness. The pain and desperation depicted in this photo is credited as helping turn sentiment and ending the war.
Earthrise, taken from the moon on Christmas Eve of 1968, either by Frank Borman or Bill Anders of the Apollo 8 mission. It was called “the most influential environmental photograph ever taken,” by adventure photographer Galen Rowell.
Photo of the first x-ray image. In 1895 Willhelm Conrad Röntgen, professor of physics the University of Wurburg in Germany, discovered the process known as modern x-ray imaging. He took this photo of his wife, Frau Röntgen's hand while she was still wearing her wedding ring. Willhelm won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1901 for this discovery.
A-bomb dropped on Nagasaki, Japan in 1945, as taken by the U.S. air force. The mushroom cloud-producing nuclear bomb killed 80,000 people and forced the surrender of the Japanese military, ending WWII in the Pacific Theater.
This famous photo, taken in 1962 by Alan Stanley Tretick of Life magazine, depicts President John F Kennedy at work at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office of the White House, while his son, Jon Jr. plays underneath. JFK Jr. was the first child born to an active President, but his father was assassinated less than a year after this photo was taken.
A plane hits the second tower, 9/11. American Airlines flight 11 crashes into the North Tower of the World Trade Center the morning of September 11, 2001, confirming for a terrified public that the first airplane collision was not an accident, but a terrorist attack.
The Wright Brothers first in flight, 1903. On December 17 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, two bicycle mechanic brothers changed history by going airborne for 12 seconds.
First man on the moon. Photo of Neil Armstrong, commander of the Apollo 11 mission as he becomes the first human to set foot on the moon on July 20, 1969.
How Life Begins, 1965. First photographed embryo inside the human body, taken by Lennart Nilsson with the endescope. It led to a firestorm of controversy over the origins of life and abortion.
Raising the Flag on Iwo Jima, taken by Joe Rosenthal February 23, 1945. 5 U.S. Marines and a Navy corpsman raised the American flag atop Mount Suribachi during the battle of Iwo Jima in World War II.
Migrant Mother, 1936. This photo of a 32-year old California farmworker, taken by Dorothea Lange, is considered to show the face of the Great Depression. This mother of 7 children had just sold her tent and tire off her cars for food, as the whole family was living on foraged vegetables and wild birds.
V-J Day in Times Square, August 14, 1945. This famous photograph take by Alfred Eisenstaedt shows an American sailor, just returned home from the war, kissing a woman in a white dress on Victory over Japan Day.
Photo of African American student Elizabeth Eckford walking into Little Rock, Arkansas' Central High among fellow students screaming and harassing her in protest, only 4 years since the Supreme Court ruled against racial segregation in schools.
Buddhist monk sets himself on fire in protest, Vietnam. In 1963, Thich Quang Duc, a Buddhist priest in Southern Vietnam, doused himself with gasoline and set himself on fire to protest the government's abuse and torture of priests. He never made a move or uttered a sound as he burned to death.
Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his famous "I have a dream," speech on August 28, 1963 at the Washington Monument, calling for an end to racism in the U.S.
"The Afghan Girl," a portrait of a 12-year old Afghan refugee living in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation, taken by Steve McCurry, appearing on the famous 1985 cover of National Geographic Magazine. She was identified in 2002 as Sharbat Gula. She was considered the face of struggle of refugees all over the world, and this photo was often called the "Afghan Mona Lisa."
DNA has been depicted with renderings and images nice 1953, when James Watson and Francis Crick first mapped DNA's famous double helix formation. But not until very recently has technology allowed is to take an actual photo of DNA, this image, thanks to Enzo di Fabrizio, a researcher at the University of Genoa in Italy.
Enzo di Fabrizio, a researcher at the University of Genoa, Italy. He found a way to photograph strands of DNA through an electron microscope.
Albert Einstein's humor, portrayed by this candid shot by UPI photographer Arthur Sasse on March 14, 1951. There was a celebration for Einstein's 72nd birthday at the Princeton Club. After a night of celebration with friends (and many beverages) Einstein was frustrated by the constant barrage of photographers, so when asked to smile he stuck out his tongue. He liked the photo so much he sent them out as Christmas cards.
The Cuban Missile Crisis comes to a heated standoff in the United Nations session, October 22, 1962. In this photo U.S. ambassador Adlai Stevenson points to a photo of Soviet missile sites in Cuba, offering incontrovertible proof that they existed. The U.S. and Soviet Union narrowly avoided a full scale nuclear war.
The Vietnam war was the first military action in U.S. history where journalists had direct access to soldiers and combat, often traveling around with soldiers and killed in action, themselves. The results was shocking images like this, taken by Eddie Adams February 1, 1968 when a police captain summarily executes a captured VietCong soldier on the street by shooting him in the head. The photo made the front page of the New York Times, and created an outrage against the senselessness of the war that sparked protests. After Vietnam, journalists were placed on restrictions where they could go and what they could photograph in combat.
Vulture waiting for starving boy to die, Sudan, 1994. This photograph by Kevin Carter captured a toddler succumbing to famine and near death, summarizing the horror and helplessness in Sub Saharan Africa as the world watched. This photo won the Pulitizer Price but the burden of witness was too much for Carter, who committed suicide 3 months later.
West Berliners start tearing down the The Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989, signifying the end of Soviet Bloc in Europe and soon the fall of communism. The wall, also called the Iron Curtain, divided free West Germany from oppressed East Germany for 28 years, since August 13, 1961.
The Beatles' Abbey Road album cover, 1969. This iconic image of the band crossing Abbey Road in London would guild their 11th studio album, and last recording before disbanding in 1970, the end of the British Invasion. The album, their top-selling ever, was met with critical acclaim and swirled in controversy, some people theorizing that it was a big staged metaphor for Paul McCartney's death.
Mahatma Ghandi taken in 1946. Magaret Bourke-White took the photo of the 76 year old peace activist and father of non-violent passive resistance as he worked by a spinning wheel. He was assassinated only hours later.
A 1977 advertisement for the Apple II personal computer, which revolutionized the concept of aesthetics and ease of use in computers that sparked the personal computing phenomenon. These innovations in computing changed our world by ushering in the dawn of the Digital Age.
MTV, Music Television's first on-screen logo, signifying a musical renaissance in which culture and art would drive the innovation of technology, not the other way around.
27 Photos that changed our world.
9/12/2013 12:43:13 pm
Norm, you've outdone yourself. Very nice job. I had no idea Kevin Carter committed suicide and THAT brought tears to my eyes.
9/14/2013 11:02:04 am
Very nicely done. There were a few on there that I didn't know the story behind
9/18/2013 08:57:28 pm
Oh, wow...My heart just tore open several times through this compilation. The little boy and the vulture image, was taken the year my youngest son was born. That could have so easily been my son in that life...I cried.You have such an awesome way of presenting information, Would love to hear your input regarding some ideas I have...I am a fan as of today! Susan
9/19/2013 02:45:49 am
Wow, some of the pictures were just too emotional to see. Great job
1/29/2016 11:20:13 am
I always thought the photo of the soldier kissing the girl and that she was a nurse...that the girl was wearing the traditional nurses uniform of that time.
10/13/2016 11:41:14 pm
Wow!! This was such an iconic Post...What Memories❤️
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Norm Schriever is a best-selling author, expat, cultural mad scientist, and enemy of the comfort zone. He travels the globe, telling the stories of the people he finds, and hopes to make the world a little bit better place with his words.