Scientific American, November 1, Advertisement A competition sponsored in by Scientific American asked for essays on the 10 greatest inventions. Inventions are most salient when we can see the historical changes they cause. In we might not appreciate the work of Nikola Tesla or Thomas Edison on a daily basis, as we are accustomed to electricity in all its forms, but we are very impressed by the societal changes caused by the Internet and the World Wide Web both of which run on alternating-current electricity, by the way.
A variety of stone tools During most of the Paleolithic - the bulk of the Stone Age - all humans had a lifestyle which involved limited tools and few permanent settlements. The first major technologies were tied to survival, hunting, and food preparation. Stone tools and weapons, fireand clothing were technological developments of major importance during this period.
Human ancestors have been using stone and other tools since long before the emergence of Homo sapiens approximatelyyears ago. To make a stone tool, a " core " of hard stone with specific flaking properties such as flint was struck with a hammerstone.
This flaking produced sharp edges which could be used as tools, primarily in the form of choppers or scrapers. In the Acheulian era, beginning approximately 1. This early Stone Age is described as the Lower Paleolithic.
The Middle Paleolithicapproximatelyyears ago, saw the introduction of the prepared-core techniquewhere multiple blades could be rapidly formed from a single core stone. The Mesolithic technology included the use of microliths as composite stone tools, along with wood, bone, and antler tools.
The later Stone Age, during which the rudiments of agricultural technology were developed, is called the Neolithic period. During this period, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks such as flintjadejadeiteand greenstonelargely by working exposures as quarries, but later the valuable rocks were pursued by tunneling underground, the first steps in mining technology.
The polished axes were used for forest clearance and the establishment of crop farming and were so effective as to remain in use when bronze and iron appeared. These stone axes were used alongside a continued use of stone tools such as a range of projectilesknives, and scrapersas well as tools, made organic materials such as wood, bone, and antler.
Stone Age humans developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe technology, leading to migration across the Malay archipelagoacross the Indian Ocean to Madagascar and also across the Pacific Ocean, which required knowledge of the ocean currents, weather patterns, sailing, and celestial navigation.
Although Paleolithic cultures left no written records, the shift from nomadic life to settlement and agriculture can be inferred from a range of archaeological evidence. Such evidence includes ancient tools,  cave paintingsand other prehistoric artsuch as the Venus of Willendorf.
Human remains also provide direct evidence, both through the examination of bones, and the study of mummies.
Scientists and historians have been able to form significant inferences about the lifestyle and culture of various prehistoric peoples, and especially their technology.
The Neolithic Revolution involved radical changes in agricultural technology which included the development of agricultureanimal domesticationand the adoption of permanent settlements.
These combined factors made possible the development of metal smeltingwith copper and later bronzean alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of choice, although polished stone tools continued to be used for a considerable time owing to their abundance compared with the less common metals especially tin.
This technological trend apparently began in the Fertile Crescent and spread outward over time. These developments were not, and still are not, universal. The three-age system does not accurately describe the technology history of groups outside of Eurasiaand does not apply at all in the case of some isolated populations, such as the Spinifex Peoplethe Sentineleseand various Amazonian tribes, which still make use of Stone Age technology, and have not developed agricultural or metal technology.
It generally replaced bronze and made it possible to produce tools which were stronger, lighter and cheaper to make than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last major step before the development of written language, though again this was not universally the case.
It was not possible to mass manufacture steel because high furnace temperatures were needed, but steel could be produced by forging bloomery iron to reduce the carbon content in a controllable way.
Iron ores were much more widespread than either copper or tin. In Europe, large hill forts were built either as a refuge in time of war or sometimes as permanent settlements.
In some cases, existing forts from the Bronze Age were expanded and enlarged. The pace of land clearance using the more effective iron axes increased, providing more farmland to support the growing population. Ancient technology It was the growth of the ancient civilizations which produced the greatest advances in technology and engineering, advances which stimulated other societies to adopt new ways of living and how they governed their people.
Egyptians[ edit ] The Egyptians invented and used many simple machines, such as the ramp to aid construction processes. Egyptian society made significant advances during dynastic periods in areas such as astronomy, mathematics, and medicine.
They also made paper and monuments. The Egyptians made significant advances in shipbuilding. Astronomy was used by Egyptian leaders to govern people.
Indus Valley[ edit ] The Indus Valley Civilizationsituated in a resource-rich area, is notable for its early application of city planning and sanitation technologies.
Mesopotamians[ edit ] The peoples of Mesopotamia SumeriansAkkadiansAssyriansand Babylonians have been credited with the invention of the wheelbut this is no longer certain. They lived in cities from c. The walls of Babylon were so massive they were quoted as a Wonder of the World.
They developed extensive water systems; canals for transport and irrigation in the alluvial south, and catchment systems stretching for tens of kilometers in the hilly north.Nov 19, · What are the most important happenings and inventions of the 20th and 21st century? More questions What was the most important invention, person, or national event in the U.S.
in the 20th and 21st century?Status: Resolved. These are the greatest inventions of the 21st century (apparently) we also thought the greatest invention of the 21st century was the gadget that peeled apples at the same time as coring them. Think of the minutes saved in preparation of healthy snacks.
more than half the sample thought the most important device of the century was the. From live-streaming events online and social media, to smartphones and eBooks, these modern 21st century inventions have changed our lives profoundly.
The Most Important Inventions of the 21st Century. Search the site GO. History & Culture.
Inventions Computers & Internet Basics Famous Inventions Famous Inventors Patents & . 7 Jaw-Dropping Inventions of the 21st Century The other day I was wandering the world wide web and encountered an article by the telegraph titled “ the most important inventions of the 21st century“.
It is easily arguably the most important invention of the 20th century, and this list doesn’t even mention it. Fail. Reply. abdou on July 22, am. i think the Nuclear Power is 1st gys. Reply. Carlos Barrera on December 22, pm. Describe an important 21st century invention and explain how it has changed peoples lives.
Day by day technology makes huge advances and makes enormous improvements which change our life continuously without us even noticing.