5 Amazing Scientific Innovations
For thousands of years, astronomers, engineers, geographers, mathematicians and other bright minds have pondered, hypothesized, researched, tested, proved and invented in the pursuit of scientific discovery. The list of scientific innovations is vast and includes advancements that affect us in areas such as communication, food, health and safety, technology, and transportation. This slideshow will highlight five scientific innovations from the last century that have had a profound effect on how we live our daily lives.
Antibiotics And Immunizations
In the late 1920s, British scientist Alexander Fleming discovered a naturally growing mold in one of his staphylococcus bacteria samples. He found that the area around the ring-shaped mold was free of the bacteria and concluded that it had been destroyed by something in the mold. Named after the Penicillium mold, penicillin was further tested and eventually produced by drug companies. By the mid-1940s, penicillin was widely available and was instrumental in treating the bacterial infections that occurred in soldiers during World War II. Since the discovery of penicillin, hundreds of antibiotics and immunizations have been developed and produced worldwide.
On Dec. 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright were the first to fly a self-propelled, heavier-than air machine. The longest flight launched the age of the airplane. Nearly three decades later, Sir Frank Whittle, a British engineer and pilot, patented his "turbojet engine" in 1930. He developed the first feasible jet engine in 1937 using recently available alloys. Unbeknownst to Whittle, Hans Von Ohain, a German airplane designer on the opposite side of the war, was also developing a jet propulsion engine which he patented in 1933. Both Whittle and Von Ohain are credited with inventing the jet engine, which revolutionized air travel for both military and commercial applications.
Early computers were huge and prohibitively expensive. One of the first computers was the Electronic Numerical Integrator Analyzer and Computer (ENIAC), which was built to perform World War II ballistics calculations for the United States military. Weighing in at 30 tons, it cost half a million dollars and covered about 2,000 square feet of space at the University of Pennsylvania. With the introduction of the transistor in 1948 and the later development of the microprocessor in 1971, the personal computer became a reality.
In his May 25, 1961 speech, President John F. Kennedy famously stated: "I believe this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the Moon and returning him safely to Earth. No single space project in the period will be more impressive to mankind or more important in the long-range exploration of space."
Eight years later, on July 20, 1969, NASA's Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin helped the U.S. reach this goal, becoming the first humans to step foot on another world when they walked on the Moon. Ten more astronauts over the next several years followed in Armstrong's and Aldrin's lunar footsteps.
The idea for the Internet stemmed from the 1960s realization that there would be great value in allowing computers to share information. ARPANET, the original Internet, was brought online in 1969. Years later, Tim Berners-Lee, a British software consultant, created HTML and its rules for usage, which introduced the World Wide Web in 1991. Today, the Internet is used by individuals, corporations and governments across the globe to communicate, congregate and share information.