How does one choose only ten notable inventions of the Twentieth Century when there are literally hundreds? Do we pick inventions that make life easier or do we choose inventions that save lives? Do you choose the light bulb over computer? Or, moving pictures over a MRI machine? Without the earlier inventions, many inventions today would not have been invented. Knowing that today’s innovations and inventions were based on previous inventions, here are the ten top inventions of the twentieth century. They are broken down into categories. The first three are interrelated.
1. 1962; Communications satellites – A device that is launched into space and relays information, voice, and visual information. Invented by Jerry R. Pierce of Bell Labs, New Jersey. The first successful venture into space. It opened up a new world to people. It allowed people to communicate all around the world.
2. 1943, Digital Computer – An electronic machine that enables the user to have rapid, repetitive calculations, user interface and branching of logic decisions. Invented by Howard Aiken of Cambridge, Massachusetts. Everything we do today is by computer. It is a key to knowledge, education, and production. A programmable computer is a necessity in the modern age.
3. 1991, World Wide Web – The hardware is the Internet. This software allows the user to navigate through computer networks that use graphical user interfaces and hypertext links. Developed by Tim Berners-Lee in Geneva, Switzerland. The www allows people to have access to classes, resources, education, products, ideas, and news. This is just the beginning of computers. Can you imagine what computers will do in 20 more years?
4. 1946, Microwave Oven. It uses microwaves instead of external heat to cook food. Invented by Percy Spencer, Boston, Massachusetts. This is one gadget that revolutionized the kitchen. It cuts cooking time to over 50 percent. It is energy efficient and does not take up much space.
± Scientific Measurement
5, 1931, Cyclotron – It is an electromagnetic machine that speeds up atomic and subatomic particles to light speed. Invented by Ernest Lawrence, Berkeley, California. It is what allowed smaller than an atom (subatomic) physics to detailed, systematic research.
6. 1961, Space Flight – Human-crewed ships go into outer space. Invented by Wernher von Braun, Huntsville, Alabama. This allows people to expand their horizons (no pun intended) and gain insight about Earth and other planets.
7. 1960, Heart Pacemaker – A battery-powered device to stimulate the heart to beat at a regular and normal rate. Invented by Wilson Greatbatch, Buffalo, NewYork. Who would have thought that this simple device, a type of electrical flasher could keep someone from dying? The implant regulates the heart to beat at a normal and regular rate.
8. 1956, Robots – A machine guided by automatic controls or programming. It performs complicated and often repetitive jobs. Invented by Joe Engelberger and George Devol in Stamford, Connecticut. There are over a million robots that preform in industrial plants performing dangerous and back breaking jobs. Robots are just the beginning of using “artificial brains” to do menial jobs.
9. 1935, Radar – It is a device that uses the reflections of pulses in high-energy radio waves to detect and locate metal moving objects. Invented by Robert Watson-Watt in England. Radar was one of the greatest breakthroughs. During World War II, it warned England when there going to be air raids. Today, radar is essential for air traffic control. It is also able to predict the weather.
10. 1954, Solar Cells – A chemical process that converts the sun’s radiation into electricity. Invented by David Chapin and Carl Fuller in New Jersey. This is going to allow us to use less nonrenewable resources, and as it is perfected, will give a permanent supply of electricity.
These inventions have improved and enriched our lives.