21 November 2012

Supersonic passenger plane

The invention: 

The first commercial airliner that flies passengers at
speeds in excess of the speed of sound.

The people behind the invention:

Sir Archibald Russell (1904- ), a designer with the British
Aircraft Corporation
Pierre Satre (1909- ), technical director at Sud-Aviation
Julian Amery (1919- ), British minister of aviation, 1962-1964
Geoffroy de Cource (1912- ), French minister of aviation,
William T. Coleman, Jr. (1920- ), U.S. secretary of
transportation, 1975-1977

18 November 2012


The invention: 

A computer that had the greatest computational power that then existed.

The person behind the invention: 

Seymour R. Cray (1928-1996), American computer architect and designer

11 November 2012

Steelmaking process

The invention: 

Known as the basic oxygen, or L-D, process, a
method for producing steel that worked about twelve times
faster than earlier methods.

The people behind the invention:

Henry Bessemer (1813-1898), the English inventor of a process
for making steel from iron

Robert Durrer (1890-1978), a Swiss scientist who first proved
the workability of the oxygen process in a laboratory

F. A. Loosley (1891-1966), head of research and development at
Dofasco Steel in Canada

Theodor Suess (1894-1956), works manager at Voest

04 November 2012

Stealth aircraft

The invention:

The first generation of “radar-invisible” aircraft, stealth planes were designed to elude enemy radar systems.

The people behind the invention: Lockhead Corporation, an American research and development firm Northrop Corporation, an American aerospace firm

27 October 2012


The invention:

A device that detects soundwaves transmitted
through water, sonar was originally developed to detect enemy
submarines but is also used in navigation, fish location, and
ocean mapping.

The people behind the invention:

Jacques Curie (1855-1941), a French physicist
Pierre Curie (1859-1906), a French physicist
Paul Langévin (1872-1946), a French physicist

21 October 2012

Solar thermal engine

The invention:
The first commercially practical plant for generating
electricity from solar energy.

The people behind the invention:

Frank Shuman (1862-1918), an American inventor
John Ericsson (1803-1889), an American engineer
Augustin Mouchout (1825-1911), a French physics professor

10 October 2012


The invention:

Synthetic polymers characterized by lubricity, extreme
water repellency, thermal stability, and inertness that are
widely used in lubricants, protective coatings, paints, adhesives,
electrical insulation, and prosthetic replacements for body parts.

The people behind the invention:
Eugene G. Rochow (1909 - 2002 ), an American research chemist
Frederic Stanley Kipping (1863-1949), a Scottish chemist and
James Franklin Hyde (1903- ), an American organic chemist

03 October 2012

Scanning tunneling microscope

The invention:

A major advance on the field ion microscope, the
scanning tunneling microscope has pointed toward new directions
in the visualization and control of matter at the atomic

The people behind the invention:

Gerd Binnig (1947- ), a West German physicist who was a
cowinner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics
Heinrich Rohrer (1933- ), a Swiss physicist who was a
cowinner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics
Ernst Ruska (1906-1988), a West German engineer who was a
cowinner of the 1986 Nobel Prize in Physics
Antoni van Leeuwenhoek (1632-1723), a Dutch naturalist

29 September 2012


The invention:

The first successful chemotherapeutic for the treatment
of syphilis

The people behind the invention:

Paul Ehrlich (1854-1915), a German research physician and
Wilhelm von Waldeyer (1836-1921), a German anatomist
Friedrich von Frerichs (1819-1885), a German physician and
Sahachiro Hata (1872-1938), a Japanese physician and
Fritz Schaudinn (1871-1906), a German zoologist

28 September 2012


The invention:

Taking its name from the acronym for symbolic automatic
integrator, SAINT is recognized as the first “expert system”—
a computer program designed to perform mental tasks requiring
human expertise.

The person behind the invention:

James R. Slagle (1934-1994), an American computer scientist

26 September 2012

Rotary dial telephone

The invention:

The first device allowing callers to connect their
telephones to other parties without the aid of an operator, the rotary
dial telephone preceded the touch-tone phone.

The people behind the invention:

Alexander Graham Bell (1847-1922), an American inventor
Antoine Barnay (1883-1945), a French engineer
Elisha Gray (1835-1901), an American inventor

24 September 2012


The invention: Liquid-fueled rockets developed by Robert H. Goddard
made possible all later developments in modern rocketry,
which in turn has made the exploration of space practical.
The person behind the invention:

Robert H. Goddard (1882-1945), an American physics professor

Robot (industrial)

The people behind the invention:

Karel Capek (1890-1938), a Czech playwright
George C. Devol, Jr. (1912- ), an American inventor
Joseph F. Engelberger (1925- ), an American entrepreneur

26 March 2012

Hydrogen-Powered RoboJelly

Researchers at The University of Texas at Dallas and Virginia Tech have created an undersea vehicle inspired by the common jellyfish that runs on renewable energy and could be used in ocean dives for rescue and surveillance missions.
And my thoughts for future applications of this technology, it will be amazing, undersea travel will be revolutionized, may Jules Verne roll over in his grave.
In a study published this week in Smart Materials and Structures, scientists created a robotic jellyfish, dubbed RoboJelly, to feed off hydrogen and oxygen gases found in water.
"We've created an underwater robot that doesn't need batteries or electricity," said Dr. Yonas Tadesse, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UT Dallas and lead author of the study. "It feeds off hydrogen and oxygen gasses, and the only waste released as it travels is more water."
Engineers and scientists have increasingly turned to nature for inspiration when creating new technologies. The simple yet powerful movement of the moon jellyfish made it an appealing animal to simulate.

14 April 2010

Robot (household)

The invention:

The first available personal robot, Hero 1 could
speak; carry small objects in a gripping arm, and sense light, motion,
sound, and time.

The people behind the invention:

Karel Capek (1890-1938), a Czech playwright
The Health Company, an American electronics manufacturer

31 March 2010

Richter scale

The invention:

A scale for measuring the strength of earthquakes
based on their seismograph recordings.

The people behind the invention:

Charles F. Richter (1900-1985), an American seismologist
Beno Gutenberg (1889-1960), a German American seismologist
Kiyoo Wadati (1902- ), a pioneering Japanese seismologist
Giuseppe Mercalli (1850-1914), an Italian physicist,volcanologist, and meteorologist

23 March 2010

Rice and wheat strains

The invention:

Artificially created high-yielding wheat and rice
varieties that are helping food producers in developing countries
keep pace with population growth
The people behind the invention:

Orville A. Vogel (1907-1991), an agronomist who developed
high-yielding semidwarf winter wheats and equipment for
wheat research
Norman E. Borlaug (1914- ), a distinguished agricultural
Robert F. Chandler, Jr. (1907-1999), an international agricultural
consultant and director of the International Rice Research
Institute, 1959-1972
William S. Gaud (1907-1977), a lawyer and the administrator of
the U.S. Agency for International Development, 1966-1969

The Problem of Hunger

In the 1960’s, agricultural scientists created new, high-yielding
strains of rice and wheat designed to fight hunger in developing
countries. Although the introduction of these new grains raised levels
of food production in poor countries, population growth and
other factors limited the success of the so-called “Green Revolution.”
Before World War II, many countries of Asia, Africa, and Latin
America exported grain toWestern Europe. After the war, however,
these countries began importing food, especially from the United
States. By 1960, they were importing about nineteen million tons of
grain a year; that level nearly doubled to thirty-six million tons in
1966. Rapidly growing populations forced the largest developing
countries—China, India, and Brazil in particular—to import huge
amounts of grain. Famine was averted on the Indian subcontinent
in 1966 and 1967 only by the United States shipping wheat to the region.
The United States then changed its food policy. Instead of contributing
food aid directly to hungry countries, the U.S. began working to help such countries feed themselves.
The new rice and wheat strains were introduced just as countries
in Africa and Asia were gaining their independence from the European
nations that had colonized them. The ColdWar was still going
strong, and Washington and other Western capitals feared that the
Soviet Union was gaining influence in the emerging countries. To
help counter this threat, the U.S. Agency for International Development
(USAID) was active in the ThirdWorld in the 1960’s, directing
or contributing to dozens of agricultural projects, including building
rural infrastructure (farm-to-market roads, irrigation projects,
and rural electric systems), introducing modern agricultural techniques,
and importing fertilizer or constructing fertilizer factories in
other countries. By raising the standard of living of impoverished
people in developing countries through applying technology to agriculture,
policymakers hoped to eliminate the socioeconomic conditions
that would support communism.


The invention: A drug with unique hypertension-decreasing effects
that provides clinical medicine with a versatile and effective
The people behind the invention:
Robert Wallace Wilkins (1906- ), an American physician and
clinical researcher
Walter E. Judson (1916- ) , an American clinical researcher
Treating Hypertension
Excessively elevated blood pressure, clinically known as “hypertension,”
has long been recognized as a pervasive and serious human
malady. In a few cases, hypertension is recognized as an effect
brought about by particular pathologies (diseases or disorders). Often,
however, hypertension occurs as the result of unknown causes.
Despite the uncertainty about its origins, unattended hypertension
leads to potentially dramatic health problems, including increased
risk of kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke.
Recognizing the need to treat hypertension in a relatively straightforward
and effective way, Robert Wallace Wilkins, a clinical researcher
at Boston University’s School of Medicine and the head of
Massachusetts Memorial Hospital’s Hypertension Clinic, began to
experiment with reserpine in the early 1950’s. Initially, the samples
that were made available to Wilkins were crude and unpurified.
Eventually, however, a purified version was used.
Reserpine has a long and fascinating history of use—both clinically
and in folk medicine—in India. The source of reserpine is the
root of the shrub Rauwolfia serpentina, first mentioned in Western
medical literature in the 1500’s but virtually unknown, or at least
unaccepted, outside India until the mid-twentieth century. Crude
preparations of the shrub had been used for a variety of ailments in
India for centuries prior to its use in the West.
Wilkins’s work with the drug did not begin on an encouraging
note, because reserpine does not act rapidly—a fact that had been
noted in Indian medical literature. The standard observation in
Western pharmacotherapy, however, was that most drugs work
rapidly; if a week has elapsed without positive effects being shown
by a drug, the conventional Western wisdom is that it is unlikely
to work at all. Additionally, physicians and patients alike tend to
look for rapid improvement or at least positive indications. Reserpine
is deceptive in this temporal context, andWilkins and his
coworkers were nearly deceived. In working with crude preparations
of Rauwolfia serpentina, they were becoming very pessimistic,
when a patient who had been treated for many consecutive
days began to show symptomatic relief. Nevertheless, only after
months of treatment did Wilkins become a believer in the drug’s
beneficial effects.

11 March 2010

Refrigerant gas

The invention: A safe refrigerant gas for domestic refrigerators,
dichlorodifluoromethane helped promote a rapid growth in the
acceptance of electrical refrigerators in homes.
The people behind the invention:
Thomas Midgley, Jr. (1889-1944), an American engineer and
Charles F. Kettering (1876-1958), an American engineer and
inventor who was the head of research for General Motors
Albert Henne (1901-1967), an American chemist who was
Midgley’s chief assistant
Frédéric Swarts (1866-1940), a Belgian chemist
Toxic Gases
Refrigerators, freezers, and air conditioners have had a major impact
on the way people live and work in the twentieth century.With
them, people can live more comfortably in hot and humid areas,
and a great variety of perishable foods can be transported and
stored for extended periods. As recently as the early nineteenth century,
the foods most regularly available to Americans were bread
and salted meats. Items now considered essential to a balanced diet,
such as vegetables, fruits, and dairy products, were produced and
consumed only in small amounts.

Radio interferometer

The invention: An astronomical instrument that combines multiple
radio telescopes into a single system that makes possible the
exploration of distant space.
The people behind the invention:
Sir Martin Ryle (1918-1984), an English astronomer
Karl Jansky (1905-1950), an American radio engineer
Hendrik Christoffel van de Hulst (1918- ), a Dutch radio
Harold Irving Ewan (1922- ), an American astrophysicist
Edward Mills Purcell (1912-1997), an American physicist
Seeing with Radio
Since the early 1600’s, astronomers have relied on optical telescopes
for viewing stellar objects. Optical telescopes detect the
visible light from stars, galaxies, quasars, and other astronomical
objects. Throughout the late twentieth century, astronomers developed
more powerful optical telescopes for peering deeper into the
cosmos and viewing objects located hundreds of millions of lightyears
away from the earth.

Radio crystal sets

The invention: The first primitive radio receivers, crystal sets led
to the development of the modern radio.
The people behind the invention:
H. H. Dunwoody (1842-1933), an American inventor
Sir John A. Fleming (1849-1945), a British scientist-inventor
Heinrich Rudolph Hertz (1857-1894), a German physicist
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), an Italian engineer-inventor
James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879), a Scottish physicist
Greenleaf W. Pickard (1877-1956), an American inventor
From Morse Code to Music
In the 1860’s, James Clerk Maxwell demonstrated that electricity
and light had electromagnetic and wave properties. The conceptualization
of electromagnetic waves led Maxwell to propose that
such waves, made by an electrical discharge, would eventually be
sent long distances through space and used for communication
purposes. Then, near the end of the nineteenth century, the technology
that produced and transmitted the needed Hertzian (or radio)
waves was devised by Heinrich Rudolph Hertz, Guglielmo Marconi
(inventor of the wireless telegraph), and many others. The resultant
radio broadcasts, however, were limited to the dots and
dashes of the Morse code.

28 January 2010


The invention: The first radio transmissions of music and voice
laid the basis for the modern radio and television industries.
The people behind the invention:
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937), an Italian physicist and
Reginald Aubrey Fessenden (1866-1932), an American radio
True Radio
The first major experimenter in the United States to work with
wireless radio was Reginald Aubrey Fessenden. This transplanted
Canadian was a skilled, self-made scientist, but unlike American inventor
Thomas Alva Edison, he lacked the business skills to gain the
full credit and wealth that such pathbreaking work might have merited.
Guglielmo Marconi, in contrast, is most often remembered as
the person who invented wireless (as opposed to telegraphic) radio.
There was a great difference between the contributions of Marconi
and Fessenden. Marconi limited himself to experiments with
radio telegraphy; that is, he sought to send through the air messages
that were currently being sent by wire—signals consisting of dots
and dashes. Fessenden sought to perfect radio telephony, or voice
communication by wireless transmission. Fessenden thus pioneered
the essential precursor of modern radio broadcasting.

09 December 2009


The invention: An electronic system for detecting objects at great
distances, radar was a major factor in the Allied victory ofWorld
War II and now pervades modern life, including scientific research.
The people behind the invention:
Sir Robert Watson-Watt (1892-1973), the father of radar who
proposed the chain air-warning system
Arnold F. Wilkins, the person who first calculated the intensity
of a radio wave
William C. Curtis (1914-1976), an American engineer
Looking for Thunder
Sir RobertWatson-Watt, a scientist with twenty years of experience
in government, led the development of the first radar, an acronym
for radio detection and ranging. “Radar” refers to any instrument
that uses the reflection of radio waves to determine the
distance, direction, and speed of an object.
In 1915, during World War I (1914-1918), Watson-Watt joined
Great Britain’s Meteorological Office. He began work on the detection
and location of thunderstorms at the Royal Aircraft Establishment
in Farnborough and remained there throughout the
war. Thunderstorms were known to be a prolific source of “atmospherics”
(audible disturbances produced in radio receiving apparatus
by atmospheric electrical phenomena), andWatson-Watt
began the design of an elementary radio direction finder that
gave the general position of such storms.

02 December 2009

Pyrex glass

The invention: Asuperhard and durable glass product with widespread
uses in industry and home products.
The people behind the invention:
Jesse T. Littleton (1888-1966), the chief physicist of Corning
Glass Works’ research department
Eugene G. Sullivan (1872-1962), the founder of Corning’s
research laboratories
William C. Taylor (1886-1958), an assistant to Sullivan
Cooperating with Science
By the twentieth century, Corning GlassWorks had a reputation
as a corporation that cooperated with the world of science to improve
existing products and develop new ones. In the 1870’s, the
company had hired university scientists to advise on improving the
optical quality of glasses, an early example of today’s common practice
of academics consulting for industry.
When Eugene G. Sullivan established Corning’s research laboratory
in 1908 (the first of its kind devoted to glass research), the task
that he undertook withWilliam C. Taylor was that of making a heatresistant
glass for railroad lantern lenses. The problem was that ordinary
flint glass (the kind in bottles and windows, made by melting
together silica sand, soda, and lime) has a fairly high thermal expansion,
but a poor heat conductivity. The glass thus expands
unevenly when exposed to heat. This condition can cause the glass
to break, sometimes violently. Colored lenses for oil or gas railroad
signal lanterns sometimes shattered if they were heated too much
by the flame that produced the light and were then sprayed by rain
or wet snow. This changed a red “stop” light to a clear “proceed”
signal and caused many accidents or near misses in railroading in
the late nineteenth century.

Propeller-coordinated machine gun

The invention: A mechanism that synchronized machine gun fire
with propeller movement to prevent World War I fighter plane
pilots from shooting off their own propellers during combat.
The people behind the invention:
Anthony Herman Gerard Fokker (1890-1939), a Dutch-born
American entrepreneur, pilot, aircraft designer, and
Roland Garros (1888-1918), a French aviator
Max Immelmann (1890-1916), a German aviator
Raymond Saulnier (1881-1964), a French aircraft designer and
French Innovation
The first true aerial combat ofWorldWar I took place in 1915. Before
then, weapons attached to airplanes were inadequate for any
real combat work. Hand-held weapons and clumsily mounted machine
guns were used by pilots and crew members in attempts to
convert their observation planes into fighters. On April 1, 1915, this
situation changed. From an airfield near Dunkerque, France, a
French airman, Lieutenant Roland Garros, took off in an airplane
equipped with a device that would make his plane the most feared
weapon in the air at that time.
During a visit to Paris, Garros met with Raymond Saulnier, a French
aircraft designer. In April of 1914, Saulnier had applied for a patent on
a device that mechanically linked the trigger of a machine

18 November 2009


The invention: A clear, moldable polymer with many industrial
uses whose overuse has also threatened the environment.
The people behind the invention:
Edward Simon, an American chemist
Charles Gerhardt (1816-1856), a French chemist
Marcellin Pierre Berthelot (1827-1907), a French chemist
Polystyrene Is Characterized
In the late eighteenth century, a scientist by the name of Casper
Neuman described the isolation of a chemical called “storax” from a
balsam tree that grew in Asia Minor.


The invention: An artificial polymer with strong insulating properties
and many other applications.
The people behind the invention:
Karl Ziegler (1898-1973), a German chemist
Giulio Natta (1903-1979), an Italian chemist
August Wilhelm von Hofmann (1818-1892), a German chemist
The Development of Synthetic Polymers
In 1841, August Hofmann completed his Ph.D. with Justus von
Liebig, a German chemist and founding father of organic chemistry.

03 November 2009


The invention: Asynthetic fibrous polymer used especially in fabrics.
The people behind the invention:
Wallace H. Carothers (1896-1937), an American polymer
Hilaire de Chardonnet (1839-1924), a French polymer chemist
John R. Whinfield (1901-1966), a British polymer chemist
A Story About Threads
Human beings have worn clothing since prehistoric times. At
first, clothing consisted of animal skins

28 October 2009

Polio vaccine (Salk)

The invention: Jonas Salk’s vaccine was the first that prevented polio,resulting in the virtual eradication of crippling polio epidemics.The people behind the invention:
Jonas Edward Salk (1914-1995), an American physician,
immunologist, and virologist
Thomas Francis, Jr. (1900-1969), an

Polio vaccine (Sabin)

The invention: Albert Bruce Sabin’s vaccine was the first to stimulate
long-lasting immunity against polio without the risk of causing
paralytic disease.
The people behind the invention:
Albert Bruce Sabin (1906-1993), a Russian-born American
Jonas Edward Salk (1914-1995), an American physician,
immunologist, and virologist
Renato Dulbecco (1914- ), an Italian-born American
virologist who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in Physiology or
The Search for a Living Vaccine
Almost a century ago, the first major poliomyelitis (polio) epidemic
was recorded. Thereafter, epidemics of increasing