Though we have been on this planet for a relatively short period, we have come a long way and created some amazing, sometimes far-out things since the early days. From the moment someone bashed a rock just to discover fire, to the debut of the wheel to the development of engine and the Internet, several key advancements stand out as particularly revolutionary.
While any attempt to count down the most important inventions and discoveries are certainly debatable. Perception is the heart of this question. Now, we might not appreciate the work of Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison, as we are accustomed to their discoveries in other forms, but we are very impressed by the Internet & the World Wide Web; both of which run on alternating-current electricity.
Here are our top picks for the Top 10 invention and discoveries of all time:-
1. The Wheel
The wheel was invented by Mesopotamians around 3500 B.C., to facilitate the creation of pottery. After
its initial success, the wheel was then put on a chariot and the rest is history. Nowadays, wheels are all
around us from clocks to vehicles to turbines. The wheel is vital to our way of life, facilitating our transportation, trade, commerce, and economy as a whole.
The earliest known use of this very simple but super-useful metal fastener dates back to around 3400 B.C. Without nails, civilization would surely crumble. This key invention became possible only after humans developed the ability to cast and shape the metal. Previously, wood structures had to be built by cutting wooden slabs into geometrical shapes in a way that they interlock each other, a much more arduous construction process.
It can be said that fire was discovered rather than invented. The earliest use of fire goes back as far as human civilization. Early humans observed incidents of fire, but it wasn’t until they figured out ways to control it and create it themselves that humans could really make use of everything this new discovery had to offer Fire gave us warmth, protection, and led us to other key inventions involving fire like metalwork, advanced hunting tools, and a method of cooking. The ability to cook helped us get the nutrients from the available raw food to support our expanding brains, giving us an indisputable advantage over other primates and was a turning point in the evolution of human beings.
A lot of bright minds have contributed over thousands of years, going all the way back to Ancient Egypt and Ancient Greece to electricity. The 18th-century American man Benjamin Franklin is generally credited with breakthrough about our understanding of electricity, if not its discovery. It’s hard to estimate how important electricity has become to humanity as it runs the majority of our gadgetry and shapes our way of life. The invention of the light bulb, although a separate contribution, attributed to Thomas Edison in 1879, is certainly a major sensational ability of electricity. It has drastically changed the way we live, work as well as the look and functioning of our cities. Electric lights went on to be used in everything to produce light, and increase visibility. Electricity has become an irreplaceable part of our life.
5. Engine / Motor
An engine is a machine that converts one type of energy into mechanical energy. Cars, airplanes, trains, spacecraft; none of these day to day transportation methods that we use today would have been possible if not for the early breakthrough of the steam engine. Most important of all, the steam engine’s fundamentals of converting energy-into-motion set the base for later innovations of jet turbines and internal combustion engines, which prompted the increase of consumption of cars and aircraft during the 20th century. The steam engine powered trains, ships, factories were the Industrial Revolution as a whole.
Nikola Tesla invented the induction motor with a rotating magnetic field that made unit the drive machine and power lighting more efficient way feasible and made AC power transmission an economic necessity.
6. The Internet
It really needs no introduction. The Internet is a system that connects computers that uses the transmission control protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) to communicate between different devices and networks throughout the globe and beyond. Internet is used by billions of people worldwide for any purposes and its uses are limitless. Though many people helped develop it, computer scientist Lawrence Roberts is most often credited with its invention. 1990’s creation of the Internet and the World Wide Web is responsible for transforming our way of education, commerce, entertainment, communication, politics, you name it. It has become a basic necessity in today’s generation.
Computer, a device used mainly for processing, storing, and displaying information. Most computers rely on a binary system that uses two variables, 0 and 1, to complete such tasks. A computer includes the hardware, software (the operating system), and peripheral equipment i.e. input-output devices that connect a computer to other things. Computers are used as control systems for a wide variety of industrial and consumer devices that exists till now. Computers come in different shapes and sizes, from microwave ovens, remote controls, general-purpose devices like personal computers, laptops, and handheld smartphones, factory devices such as computer-aided design and industrial robots, to supercomputers with more than 300 tons weight. The Internet connects hundreds of millions of other computers and their users. Companies like Microsoft, IBM, & Apple are pioneers in personal computing. Like the internet, the computer has become a basic necessity in today’s generation.
8. Electromagnetic Waves
Electromagnetic waves are transverse waves used to transmit long/short/FM wavelength radio waves, and TV/telephone/wireless signals or energies. Electromagnetic waves are everywhere, it can travel not only through the air and solid materials but also through the vacuum of space. Understanding electromagnetic waves means understanding the entire world; you’ll literally learn to see normal things in a new light. Wireless communication technology transmits information over the air using electromagnetic waves like infrared radiation (IR), RF (Radio Frequency), ultraviolet light (UV), visible light (VIS), X-rays, and gamma rays, satellite, satellite television, GPS, Wi-Fi, wireless devices, wireless phones that include 3G and 4G networks, and Bluetooth. This discovery has facilitated many important sectors of telecommunication, hospital, aviation to name a few.
They have a long history, first developed by ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians, with key theories of light and vision contributed by Ancient Greeks. Lenses were first used in the 13th century to aid for the weak-sighted, and the microscopes and telescopes followed in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. These early uses were the first steps in the development of astonishing devices like the electron microscope used in the early observance of cells and other particles and the Hubble Space Telescope. Optical lenses became important components in the creation of media technologies involved in
photography, film, and television. From glasses to microscopes and to telescopes, optical lenses have greatly expanded the capability of our vision. Lenses have since led to major breakthroughs in various fields including entertainment, astronomy, biology, surgery, archeology, and optometry.
While sometimes controversial, vaccination is responsible for eradicating diseases and extending the human lifespan. Vaccines are used for protection against potential future infections. Vaccines are designed to improve a protective immune response in your body. The specific protective immune cells have a memory component so that you can be adequately protected for any further infection by that particular virus. The world’s first vaccine was developed by Edward Jenner for smallpox in 1796. A rabies vaccine was developed by the French nation’s Louis Pasteur in 1885, who is credited with making vaccination the major part of medicine that is it today. Pasteur is also credited for inventing the food safety process of pasteurization that bears his name. Today, vaccination is started from infants and slowly build up as per requirement.
The compass was invented sometime between the 9th and 11th centuries in China. It was made of lodestone, a naturally-magnetized iron-ore. This navigational device became a major force in human exploration. Soon after, this technology was passed to Europeans and Arabs and later worldwide. Today, magnetic compasses may have been made obsolete by global positioning systems (GPS), and modern satellites but their impact on early navigation and exploration was not to be underestimated.