Humans are an inventive species. From the moment someone turned a rock into first sharp-edged tool, to the evolution of the Internet, several key advancements stand out as revolutionary. Some favourable to mankind, some destructive. Here are the 10 landmark invention in history of mankind.
The desire to fly high and mighty as the eagle had been a cherished dream since the dawn of mankind. So when the Wright brothers invented the first aeroplane a century or two back, it called for a worldwide celebration. Communications were very limited in those days, so a small celebration and ripples in the scientific world is what happened at most.
However, man had learned how to fly. His weight no longer bound him to the surface of the earth. He had conquered three dimensions.
And now onto the fourth…
9. Light Bulb
Iconic as the symbol of a new age, the light bulb represents the shift away from the parables of monks to the clicking of rotors. Invented (A lot of controversy here; perfected, might be a better word) by Thomas Alva Edison, the light bulb heralded an era of illumination and electricity, without which, the modern world wouldn’t have been possible.
8. Printing Press
Dispelling the ignorance left over from the dark ages, Johannes Gutenberg actively created history when he invented the printing press; making literature, science and other written works available in mass to the general public. This ushered in a new era of self-reliance, independence from the church and an exponential growth in inventions, making the printing press one of the most important inventions of man.
7. Steam Engine
The industrial revolution can be largely accredited to the Steam Engine, the invention of which allowed large scale, rapid transportation of heavy goods and machineries. What would previously take months to arrive, took a few days with the steam engine. Remote areas suddenly became profitable, and the impetus provided by the following explosion in growth made the modern world what it is today.
Famously thought to be invented by Marconi (but in reality by Nikola Tesla), the radio marked a giant leap for man. Setting the course for future inventions such as the television, the telephone and the internet, Radio allowed for intercontinental communication wirelessly. Suddenly, events that were inaccesible geographically became acccesible domestically. Man had developed a transcontinental ear and a mouth.
The first salvo against the Catholic Church’s oppresion came in the form of the Telescope, invented by Galileo in the 1600s. It took just one turn of his gaze towards the heavens to irrevocably dispel the Church’s Geocentric theory of the Universe. Galileo was later tried in court for heresy, made to issue a public apology and condemned to house arrest for the rest of his life. However, his discoveries made him an inspiration for all men of science to come, and opened heaven for all mankind.
You wouldn’t be reading this if it weren’t for writing. Widely believed to have been invented by the Sumerians/Mesopotamians(Also believed to be the first civilization.), writing changed humanity forever as we then became the first species in the history of the known Universe to record our own existence. Writing allowed men to look at their lives in the light of eternity and was primarily responsible for the birth of all intellectuality.
3. Atom Bomb
The threat of firing a nuclear weapon is enough to quickly bring negotiations to a unanimous conclusion, regardless of the fairness of the deal. While Mutually Assured Destruction(MAD) almost assures that no sane nation will ever fire a nuclear warhead, there’s always that small chance that humanity will find its unsightly end at the hands of its own invention. After dropping the first bomb on Hiroshima, Robert J Oppenheimer was known to have quoted a line from the Bhagavad Gita:
Humanity’s first bona fide invention, the Wheel revolutionized (as in; created) the field of land transport, allowing easier agriculture and wide-scale trade to flourish. This, coupled with intensive agriculture, caused the development of the first economies and states; leading to civilization. The Wheel is what set humanity into motion; both literally, and figuratively.
While the inventions previously listed have had a huge role in shaping modern society as it is, no invention is more responsible for the 21st century than the Computer. Humans have made more progress in the last 40 years than they have made throughout the entire course of their natural history. All because we invented a machine that could multiply big numbers. Computers have transformed every aspect of the average human life, from life expectancy to communication, hurtling the species to heights previously unimaginable. They have had an exponential effect on human technological growth, making the future really hard to predict; but one thing is quite clear. Humanity’s fate depends on computers.