Continuing with our series of inventions that changed the world, while we’ve already covered the life-altering inventions of the ancient and Middle Ages such as the wheel, the compass, the printing press, the steam engine and the internal combustion engine, here are a few more amazing inventions of recent times that deserve pride of place in the history of mankind-
Electricity / The electric dynamo-
The invention of electricity for industrial use is the culmination of centuries of research done by various scientists at different periods of time. William Gilbert, Otto von Guericke, Robert Boyle, Stephen Gray, C. F. du Fay, Benjamin Franklin, Alessandro Volta and many others did considerable work in the understanding of the phenomenon of electricity. But, it was the invention of the Electric Dynamo in 1831, by Michael Faraday, that allowed man to generate electricity for industrial use. Then, in 1892, Nikola Tesla developed the first AC electricity generator, which paved the way for the use of electricity commercially. Around the same time, Thomas Alva Edison invented the first commercially viable electric bulb. Electrical technology then saw a period of such rapid expansion that it climaxed in the second industrial revolution and proved to be a game-changer in modern industry and society. It transformed the history of the world in every sphere- transport, heating, refrigeration, food storage, lighting, communications, and computation. Electricity is now the lifeline of the contemporary world to the extent that life without electricity is unthinkable!
The invention of the wireless telegraphy and radio transmission system by Guglielmo Marconi in 1895, the telephone in 1876 by Alexander Graham Bell, and the television in 1925 by John Logie Baird- the development of these modern communication technologies revolutionized the world of news, business, communications and industry. In just under a century’s time, we went from a world where news reached across the country in days or even weeks, to a world where we could catch events across the globe as they took place. Mass communications opened up huge vistas of information for common folk, and changed the way people interacted with one another.
Modern Means of Transport–
The inventions of the motorized car and the airplane proved to be game-changers in the modern world. These two inventions together shrunk distances between cities and countries, altered the way the human race travelled and transformed the world, as we knew it then. While German engineer Karl Benz is credited with inventing the first true car, the Benz Patent-Motorwagen, in 1886, aviation pioneers, brothers Orville and Wilbur Wright, are credited with inventing the world’s first airplane in 1903. The cumulative effect of these two inventions on society, culture, commerce and community has been far-reaching and unparalleled.
The computer has changed the world in every conceivable way there is. Right from allowing one to perform complex calculations with amazing accuracy, to putting the first man on the moon to sequencing the human genome, to launching satellites into space, to creating mind-blowing special effects, to everything else, computers have helped man accomplish incredible feats of science. Computers have simplified the way we calculate, do business, store a gigantic amount of information and retrieve it easily, all with the click of a mouse. The modern computer has been developed by the cumulative efforts of various scientists, most notably English mathematician Alan Turing. However, English math genius Charles Babbage is widely regarded as ‘the father of the computer’ for inventing the world’s first mechanical computing device, ‘The Difference and Analytical Engines’, during the early 19th century.
First there was the computer. And then there came the Internet- the widest network of interconnected computers, spanning the entire planet! The internet has transformed the world into a global village where every person with an internet connection can connect with billions of people across the world instantaneously! The internet allows us to obtain almost any information from anywhere in the world at any time. It has touched every sphere of our lives- education, business, entertainment, sports, communication, politics, trade and commerce, and this is not even the tip of the iceberg. The scope of the internet is colossal, far-reaching and is yet to be explored fully. Originally developed by the US Military for use in internal military operations, British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee wrote the software that enabled the first system for distributing information on the global network in 1989 at CERN in Switzerland. He named his invention the World Wide Web.