From the beginning of mankind people have used different tools, sources of energy and materials to make their lives easier and more comfortable.
At present modern industry depends on - power
- production proceses
The earliest materials people used were wood, bone, horn, shell, stone, iron, bronze. Soon new materials were used such as rubber, glass, leather, paper, bricks, porcelain and later in the 19th century new synthetic materiasls appeared ( plastic, celuloid, synthetic fibres )
In early human history, the only power available was muscle power and first primitive tools were used-wedge, lever and later wheel.
The first important invention to change human lives was the invention of steam engine by James Watt. The economy based on agricule was soon replaced by economy where machinery and manufacture dominated. This fast development and fast transport led to the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in the second half of the 18th century. Hand-made products were soon replaced by machine-made products.
Michael Faraday´s dynamo became the basis of electrical engineering. He discovered that it was possible to transform mechanical energy to electrical and it led to the invention of electric generator. Faraday also experimented with electromagnetism. Electricity was an important discovery as it was used to power machines and for lightning and making heat. Thomas Alva Edison´s invention of an electric bulb had a great impact on human lives.
The invention of the internal combustion engine by Nicholas Otto enabled Gottlieb Daimler and Karl Benz to construct first petrol-driven motocar. This invention made transport even faster and more comfortable and it shortened the travel time.
There are many other inventions and discoveries which had a great impact on mankind, such as: aircraft, radio, television, telephone, X-ray machines, radar, photographs, birth control methods, penicilin and many other. Undoubtedly the transisor, silicon chip and laser were three inventions that have had the greatest impact on modern-day life. Electronic and microelectronic industries, space research and genetic engineering progress very rapidly.
Today´s sources of energy are for example nuclear energy as well as natural gas, water power, coal and oil but we also try to make use of other sources of energy such as wind, tidal, solar and geothermic power.
Science and technology are great phenomena which can contribute to solving the problems on the earth – to find other alternative sources of energy, to reduce pollution of all kinds and protect the environment, to find the ways how to feed the increasing number of people and to discover medicine against such diseases as cancer, AIDS, ebola and many other.
Not all inventions and discoveries have brought only improvement and innovation. Ballistic missiles, laser weapons, nuclear and H-bombs and pollution of the environment are only few examples how good ideas may be abused.
Some famous people and their inventions or discoveries:
Sir Isaac Newton - discovered the law of gravity,
- discovered that white light is composed of many colours
- developed the three standard laws of motion
James Watt- steam engine
George Stephenson- constructed the first succesfull steam locomotive and built the world´s first public passenger railway.
Michael Faraday – electric generator, dynamo, electromagnetism
Charles Darwin – developed modern theory of evolution and proposed the principle of natural selection
Thomas Alva Edison – invented electric bulb
Alexander Graham Bell – invented telephone
Albert Einstein – theory of relativity
- he also worked for peace and justice
Sir Alexander Fleming – discovered first antibiotic drug-penicilin
James Dewey Watson and Francis Crick- research on molecular structure of DNA and genetic code