Sunday, June 19, 2016

The 50 biggest inventions and innovations that changed the history of mankind






Of course, everyone has his opinion in this regard, but it would be interesting to find out what they think about it people who, for decades, working on technologies of all sorts, learning about technology - and teach others - students of evolution technologies throughout history? US publication The Atlantic took the initiative to gather a group of 12 experts - scientists, engineers, historians, businessmen - and ask them to draw each a list of 25 inventions or innovations that consider the more important. The only condition was that made those successes are inventing rear wheel, which occurred around now. 6000 years and so important for the further development of technology and human civilization in general, that the wheel has come to symbolize the collective mentality, the invention itself, the revolutionary idea that fundamentally changed the universe technological until then and give an impetus unprecedented progress. Here are the results of this exciting exercise, which give us an idea of ​​how people understand the world and its evolution - the world past, present and even the next.

Analyzing lists provided by participants, weighing the value for each individual inventions or innovations, based on their order, James Fallows, author of the article in The Atlantic, synthesized information in a more comprehensive list - 50 victories technological considered the most significant in history. The list is obviously far from exhaustive: as he says himself, to draw up a list of (only) 50 such successful means to exclude from the list another 50,000. Countless are the inventions and innovations that changed the life of humanity, and 50 of them - in the hundreds of thousands of years of evolution - it seems less. But just as limited and inevitably subjective, the result is no less interesting. Here is the list enriched with comments and author of some of the 12 experts who were asked to participate in the project.

1. The Pattern, 1430

Nominated for 10 of the 12 participants, the invention of printing with moveable type in Europe XV century, allowed easy and cheap access to knowledge, thus enriching and its rapid spread.



2. Electricity, late nineteenth century.


Modern life is unimaginable without it: countless other inventions would never have occurred if it were not first electricity as an energy source available to everyone.





3. Penicillin 1928

This first synthetic antibiotic manufactured by man opened a new era in medicine: once incurable diseases became easily curable thanks to antibiotics.








4. Electronic equipment semiconductor mid-twentieth century

They are the physical foundation of the virtual world; without them, we would not have had the means of mass communication we have today.







5, Optical lenses, XIII century



Because of them could have invented the microscope and telescope lenses contribution to human progress but not limited to that. Glasses, for example, were a huge factor of progress: As the author says, they have increased people's IQ, significantly increasing the number of those who could (or could learn) to read and write.





6. Paper, Century II

Support of writing and images, it contributed decisively to diseminaraea information and increase the number of literate people.










7. The internal combustion engine, the end of the century. XIX

It replaced the flute how great steam engine, being smaller and more efficient than it





8. Vaccination, 1796

This year, the British physician Edward Jenner developed an early form of vaccination using a virus disease of cattle; inoculated to humans, he restrained them from smallpox (infection by a related virus), a disfiguring disease and high mortality. But vaccinating gained momentum only since 1885, when Louis Pasteur invented the vaccine against rabies (rabies).







9. Internet, 1960

Internet - meaning a computer network that they share and process information in common - came earlier than many users believe his contemporaries. The precursor of the Internet dates back to 1965 when the Advanced Research Projects Agency in the field of Defense (DARPA) of the US Department of Defense created the first network of interconnected computers called ARPAnet. With the continued expansion of this network have reached the Internet today - infrastructure that underpins the digital age.


10. The steam engine, 1712

He sets in motion trains, boats and machine tools, enabling flourishing Industrial Revolution.











11. Nitrogen fixation 1918

It is an invention as little known as it is important: the German chemist Fritz Haber developed a process for the synthesis of ammonia that allowed the industrial manufacturing (by process Haber-Bosch) nitrogen fertilizers - one of the determined the Green Revolution (see no. 22), which increased yields and impressive saved from death many hundreds of millions.






12. Sewage plants, mid-century. XIX

Is one of the major causes of increasing lifespan - we Europeans live today, on average, better a few decades more than in 1880.


13. Refrigeration, 1850

A profoundly changed the way we eat and helped to improve our public health. The invention is important not only in terms of nutrition; Today's medicines and vaccines can be transported long distances and stored for a long time, thanks to this discovery, saving millions of lives worldwide







14. Gunpowder, X century

Maybe it's an invention that I soon wanted to be in a known, for her contribution and increased killing fellow tragic "effectiveness" of war is well known. But this explosive had other uses in peaceful purposes - for instance, in road construction or mining. However, it is an invention whose importance can not be denied, if we look from the perspective of its impact on human civilization.


15, The plane 1903

A profoundly transformed the economy, increasing the enormous speed with which people and goods can be transported; transformed and how it conducted the war, but has changed the way we perceive the world in which we live





16. The personal computer, 1970

A tremendous enhanced people's ability to communicate and learn.








17. Compass, XII century

Allowing orientation even in the absence of visual cues - in the ocean, for example - allow travelers increasingly longer and helped us to discover the world.





18. The car, late nineteenth

He turned everyday life of the people, culture and human civilization.










19. Manufacture of industrial steel, 1850

It became the foundation of modern industry and remains as important today as a century and a half ago






20. Pill 1960

It produced a true social revolution, one of the strongest in history.





21. Nuclear fission 1939

A man endowed with new capabilities to destroy, but to create.









22. Green Revolution, mid-twentieth century

Combining technologies such as chemical fertilizer application (no. 11) with scientific improvement of varieties, the Green Revolution greatly increased food production globally. About Norman Borlaug, the "father of the Green Revolution" is often said that would be saved from death a billion people.







23. Sextant, 1757

With his help, they could be made astronomical observations and drawn maps that helped us to know and better understand our planet and universe.







24. Phone 1876

It allowed the human voice to be heard at distances of thousands of kilometers, revolutionizing communication










25. Writing alphabetical millennium BCE

The appearance of the information has become more accessible and easier to find; author's opinion, it would have allowed companies to emulate who practiced those used ideographic writing.








26. Telegraph 1837

A spectacular increased the speed with which information can be transmitted; as Joel says Mokyr (professor of economics and history at Northwestern University), one of the participants in the project proposed by The Atlantic, before the telegraph, information could not go faster than a man on horseback.





27.Mechanical clock, the XVth century

To quantify the time and marked the beginning of a drastic transformation of how people organized their daily existence.










28. Radio 1906

It was an exceptional demonstration of the ability of this category of devices - electronic means of mass communication - to spread ideas and to equalize culture.

29. Photography, early century. XIX

A profoundly transformed professions such as journalism, and art and culture, and how we see ourselves.


30. Moldboard plow, sec. XVIII

Unlike older models, moldboard plow furrow not only cut, but an overturning, stifling the growth of weeds and bringing to the surface nutrients in the soil. Seems modest improvement made to an old tool, but in fact, its impact was extraordinary: its introduction greatly increased the productivity of land, which greatly influenced the economy and thus the whole civilization. The author puts this invention in the eighteenth century, but it has been used before. In the eighteenth century, however, the design of these plows was considerably improved: during this period were invented and spread widely models plow moldboard much lighter and could be produced in large numbers in factories; they have become very popular and have contributed much to the progress of agriculture in Europe and North America.


32. Cotton Gin 1793

Invented in the US, enabled the mechanized separating cotton fibers from seeds of the plant, a task that previously was done manually and was very laborious. As a result, cotton fabrics industry has become much more productive and, of course, the demand for raw materials has become larger; as a consequence sad grew and was strengthened phenomenon of slavery on cotton plantations in the southern United States.


33, Pasteurization  1863

One of the first practical applications of the theory of germs infectious, developed by Pasteur pasteurization - a method of food preservation liquid by subjecting them to high temperatures, thus stopping the growth of bacteria - is considered one of the most effective human interventions in public health, throughout the history of humanity.



34. Gregorian Calendar, 1582

He corrected the Julian calendar, older, achieving a better synchronization with natural rhythms driving human civilization determined by astronomical cycles.







35. Oil refining, mid-nineteenth century

The world economy today is based in great part on oil, which is obtained by processing thousands of everyday products.





36. The steam turbine 1884

Although less publicized than steam engines, steam turbines, and today represents one of the pillars that support the energy industry; approx. 80% of the electricity produced in the world is produced by them.



37. Cements, millennium BCE

From the earliest versions of binders made of lime and sand to the modern cement, this material is - literally - the foundation of civilization.



38. Improving scientific Plant Variety Rights, 1920

Although people began - consciously or not - to select plants since the beginning of agriculture until the twentieth century scientists have rediscovered works (dating back to the nineteenth century) botanist Gregor Mendel, the "father of genetics" and thus began to understand plant genetics, the basis of any effective process improvement. (Later, based on these findings, the study could be undertaken and human genetics, in which progress has been made so spectacular).



39. Oil drilling 1859

Powers modern economy, geopolitics and profoundly influences the planet's climate changes.










40. Sailing, fourth millennium BCE

As the plane (No.15) but long before that, has transformed transport, war and our worldview.





41. Rocket 1926

With rockets, we came away from Earth than any other means; In fact, as stated by George Dyson, another project participant (specialist in the history of technology), the rocket "is the only means by which we could leave the planet before."


42. Paper money, sec XI

They represented an important step towards "abstraction" of money, characteristic of the global economy at the moment.









43.Abacus, third millennium BCE

A calculation tool appeared early abacus was one of the first devices designed to help human intelligence.





44. Air Conditioning, 1902

It may seem surprising, but it is one of the inventions that greatly helps economic development in countries where temperatures are high in certain seasons or permanently. In the last half century, air conditioning, says the author, played a major role in expanding population, increasing its level of living and improved working conditions in the countries of the southern United States, and now plays a similar role in countries such as China, India Arab countries etc.




45. Television, the first half of the century. XX

After an already well-known expression, he brought the whole world into people's homes.








46. Anaesthesia, 1846

One of the first substances used for this purpose by Western surgeons was ether, the effects of which were presented at public demonstrations. As James Fallows says very plastic with the introduction of anesthesia, surgery began to distinguish torture.



47.Nail, second millennium BCE

One of the experts asked to participate in the project, Leslie Berlin (specialist in the history of business and technology at Stanford University), thinks that the invention nails "extended life through that gave people the ability to build shelters" .






48. Lever, third millennium BCE

A childish idea apparently simple but extremely effective. It is believed that the ancient Egyptians made full use of this simple and brilliant invention for lifting their famous pyramids.







49. Assembly line / conveyor 1913

A transformed world economy - from craft workshops to factories producing mass consumer goods.













50. Combine Harvester, 1930

A mechanized working the fields, giving people the freedom to pursue other types of activities.

Again, those assessments are entirely subjective, influenced - unconsciously but inevitably - the nationality of those who do, personal preference, the inspiration of the moment even, and times: a survey of the same kind would not have been the or 100 years ago or even 20 years ago.

Missing from this list many other victories of science and technology, which others can would be included; GPS systems, which depend so much today transport and communications; the concept of the number zero on one of the participants, Padmasree Warrior, Director of Technology and Strategy at Cisco, he has proposed, moreover, on his own list, and more ...

Another point worth stressing is ... ambivalent character, say, of many of these inventions / innovations: can do both good and bad. Sometimes their negative side does not show from the beginning, but becomes evident over time. "If you look at antibiotics, insecticides, transportation - every time you solve a problem, see either us," says Joel Mokyr.

But this creates - is not it? - A permanent need solutions that stimulate the emergence of new and new inventions and innovations. It's called progress.

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