39 years ago - Ray Palmer is born.
21 years ago - 18-year-old Ray begins his higher education.
14 years ago - 25-year-old Ray gets his masters degree in particle physics and becomes an associate professor.
12 years ago - 27-year-old Ray discovers and alien meteor of white dwarf star matter, crafts his size-changing belt, and manages to save a few people during his adventures. He is soon asked to join the Justice League, where he takes the name of the JSA hero the Atom.
11 years ago - 28-year-old Ray discovers Ragnarok during his dimensional travel and helps the Justice Society escape. He first meets Jean Loring.
10 years ago - 29-year-old Ray gets his doctorate.
9 years ago - 30-year-old Ray takes on a brilliant teenage lab assistant, Karen Beecher. the Justice League collapses, and Jean Loring discovers his identity.
8 years ago - An accident with 31-year-old Ray's white dwarf star activates Karen Beecher's metagene and she leaves to become Bumblebee. Ray joins the newly formed earth-based Justice League.
7 years ago - 32-year-old Ray marries Jean Loring & leaves the Justice League to focus on his research.
2 years ago - 37-year-old Ray retreats into the sub-world when Jean Loring, under the influence of Eclipso kills Sue Dinby.
While on the surface, the idea of a superhero whose sole power is the ability to make himself tiny seems pretty lame. It's only when you start to see the concept applied to broad science fiction principals that it gets fascinating; watching Atom ride on an electron or shuffle between realities by shrinking through the spaces of causality is immediately fascinating. The fact that Ray is a scientist first gives him a very specific role in the DC Universe, but his ability to find himself in mysterious new realms thanks to his constant exploration of the depths of sub-atomic reality makes him one of their consummate adventurers.
We've used Ray in a few parts of the larger story. For example, we've used his role in the series JLA/JSA Virtue & Vice as the explanation for The Justice Society's escape from Ragnarok. Also, we've made Karen Beecher his lab assistant to explain her powers. Among the many strange stories to have featured Ray, he was at once point de-aged to a teenager so he could lead a rebooted Teen Titans. We didn't include that, but we did make him a science adviser for Arsenal's team.
We've included his retreat into the sub-world after the fall of Jean Loring, but it's only a matter of time before Ray retakes the mantle of one of DC's most imaginative characters.