Science and Technology
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13 – SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY Science (from Latin scientia, meaning “knowledge”) is systemized knowledge through experimentation, observation and study. There are many fields in science, for example natural sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences. Technology is a product of science. Modern society depends on technology and vice versa, technology exists thanks to the needs of society. History of Science The development of science and technology is as old as mankind. Many ‘inventions’ claimed after the 11th century in fact dated back to the Greeks and Chinese many centuries before. Scientific information proposed by the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384 – 322 BC) and others was lost in the Dark Ages in Britain and Europe after the collapse of the Roman Empire. The birth of ‘technology’ was when the first human-like species, Homo habilis (‘skilful person’ 2.6 million years BC) made sharp cutting edges from stone. Later, Homo neanderthalis or cave men (200 000 – 30 000 years BC) used tools and weapons and were the very successful ancestors of Homo sapiens, the species we recognise as our ancestors today. Around 4500 BC the wheel and axle combination became the most important invention of all times. Carts came into common use. By 2000 BC wheels had spokes, and then rapid development occurred with waterwheels and windmills to provide power. The other important inventions were the gunpowder and the printing.The recipe for making gunpowder appeared in a book in Europe in 1242. Roger Bacon (1214 – 1294), an English friar and philosopher, was the first to describe its formula. Guns soon followed. Spreading knowledge and information was a very slow process before the invention of typography. Johannes Gutenberg (1398 – 1468) developed the first mechanical printing machine in the 1440s. The first printed book was the Bible in 1456 with a run of 150 copies. Each Bible previously took three years to make by hand. The industrial revolution started in the 18th century in the England and brought many changes and inventions. Technology has become part of our life and nowadays, new technological inventions make our life easier. People make big scientific and technological progress in transport, medicine, and biology and information technology. When we compare how people travelled in the past and how they travel today, the progress in car industry is incredible. In the 20th century for the first time people also leave the planet and explore the space. Enormous progress has been made in medicine. Science and technology help ease the pain of certain types of diseases; it cures and prevents some of them. In the biology, especially microbiology, the scientists are able to create the life. Nowadays, “in vitro” fertilization and cloning are the most debated issues in this field. During the last decade, there has been a great change in information and communication technologies, especially in wireless technology. For example, computers are used almost everywhere. The number of people using mobile phones has rapidly increased. They have become a symbol of comfortable, quick communication among people. A cell phone, music player, camera and a palm computer are being put together into one little gadget. Perhaps one of the greatest inventions of our time is the Internet. No doubt, the net has had a big effect on almost every part of our lives. It has changed the way we do business, how we communicate and entertain and how we search for information. Many people send documents, buy things, book hotels, reserve tickets or transfer their money via the Internet. Chatting, joining discussion groups, reading articles, downloading music is very popular among the young people. Computers have also replaced people in some professions. Science and technology help us with our everyday work and without it our lives would be more difficult. On the other hand science and technology can be misused, for example we drive cars daily but they pollute the air. Scientists will continue to conduct research in medicine, and all other fields of science. Inventions and Discoveries: In 1924 the Scottish inventor and engineer John Logie Baird developed a television.Telephone: This is an invention that made money. Alexander Graham Bell (1847 – 1922) was the first in the race to patent a machine in 1876 that you could use to talk to someone on the other side of the world. Admittedly, it was initially from one room to another. The message was “Mr. Watson, come here, I want you”. A year later in 1877 he set up his company and demonstrated long distance calls.In 1894 Italian engineer Marconi developed the first radio while experimenting in his parents` attic.Alexander Calder, an American sculptor, invented the mobile phonein the early 20th century. His invention became famous worldwide.Isaac Newton: was an English physicist. He discoveredgravitational force.Steam power: This era saw the development of steam engines to power factory machinery. Heating water in a boiler to make steam to power a vehicle was a major technological advance. James Watt (1736 – 1819) is recognised as the inventor of the steam engine in 1765. Water could be pumped out of mines and industrial processes speeded up. George Stephenson’s (1781 - 1848) Rocket was the first locomotive to pull heavy loads a long distance. This led to the rapid expansion of railways throughout Britain and the world. The combination of iron and steam paved the way for the great Victorian engineering projects of Isambard Kingdom Brunel (1806 - 1859). He designed bridges, tunnels, viaducts and ships.Alfred Bernard Nobel, the Swedish chemist, invented a safer way of using nitro-glycerine in the production ofdynamite.Dimitri Mendelev composed hisperiodic table of elements.Luis Pasteur, the French biologist, produced a vaccine against rabies. He also invented the process known aspasteurisation.Charles Darwin proposed thetheory that all differences in animals were formed by natural processes over long