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The Story of Science and TechnologyThe Story of Science and Technology

The Story of Science and Technology

The Story of Science and Technology

Meet astronomers, engineers, experimenters and inventors – the trail-blazing thinkers who shaped our world. Inside you will find: -An informative timeline of the history of science -The lives and discoveries of Galileo, Ptolemy, Brunel, Watt, Newton, Boyle and many more -Expert writers on the world’s greatest scientific advances -Insights into over 2000 years of scientific ideas and inventions, people and personalities.

Country:
United Kingdom
Language:
English
Publisher:
Immediate Media Company London Limited
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IN THIS ISSUE

access_time1 min.
welcome

“Calculus, chemical elements, aeronautical engineering, planetary motion, metallurgy, computing, quarks and bosons – to the layperson, the evolution of such complex concepts and technology can set the head spinning. But it’s not rocket science (except, of course, rocket science!). The story of science and technology is, like all history, a narrative dominated by people, not just atoms and equations. This special edition of BBC History Magazine introduces the men and women whose ideas and innovations shape our world today. We meet Greek and Roman philosophers, mathematicians and engineers who pioneered geometry, physics and geography – as well as gadgets ranging from automated statues to astronomical computers. And we explore the lives and work of scientists who became household names – Plato and Newton, Galileo and Einstein. We also celebrate the inventors and…

access_time11 min.
history of science

3.3 million years ago The oldest surviving stone tools are made in Kenya by predecessors of modern humans. 2,100 BC Sumerian calendars are in use, the first ones divided into 12 lunar months. Each begins when the new crescent moon appears at sunset. By using astronomical calculations, occasionally a 13th month is introduced to keep the calendar aligned with the seasons. Every seventh day is reserved for rest. c35,000 BC Like later examples in Europe, Indonesian cave paintings prove that prehistoric people observed animals closely and knew how to make coloured materials. Their carefully chosen locations may indicate religious rituals and beliefs. 6th century BC The most famous theorem in geometry is crucial for astronomy, building and mathematics. But although it is named after the Greek philosopher Pythagoras, there is no firm evidence that he proved it.…

access_time6 min.
technology in the ancient world

It was the ultimate gadget: an instrument of extreme precision but of limited practical utility In 1901, a large lump of corroded bronze was recovered from a shipwreck off the coast of the Greek island of Antikythera. The ship had sunk in the first century BC and had been carrying a varied cargo which included precious jewellery, glassware and statues. The metal lump, perhaps unsurprisingly, did not spark interest at first. However, it came to light that it contained gear wheels and deserved further research. Over a century after its discovery, what is now known as the Antikythera mechanism is considered the finest example of ancient Greek technology. This proto-computer contains over 35 gear wheels; it predicted eclipses, tracked various ancient calendars, traced the positions of celestial bodies on the ecliptic, and…

access_time1 min.
technology in greek and roman agriculture

There were relatively few major innovations in agriculture during classical antiquity. The watermill, first invented in the Hellenistic period, became increasingly common in late antiquity, and archaeological remains have been found throughout the western Roman empire. Two Roman authors, Pliny the Elder (first century AD) and Palladius (fourth or fifth century AD) describe a harvesting machine, called a vallus, sometimes dubbed the ‘ancestor of the combine harvester’, employed on large estates in Gaul. It was mounted on wheels, pulled by an ox, and was equipped with metal teeth to cut off the ears of corn. An exceptional representation of the harvester was discovered in Buzenol in Belgium in 1958. Sixty years later, scholars still debate about the exact appearance and function of the vallus. While mechanical inventions were few, if we…

access_time9 min.
invention or adaptation? what the romans really did for us

ROMANS ROADS Straight, paved, well-drained – Rome’s superhighways weren’t the first, but they made the world’s most extensive network In the fifth century BC, King Darius of Persia ordered the construction of the ‘Royal Road’, which stretches over 1,600 miles – but not all of it was paved, nor was all of it straight. The oldest paved road in history is in an Egyptian quarry and is around 4,600 years old. The Romans could see potential in these early roads, so they borrowed the idea and enhanced it. At the peak of the Roman empire there were 29 military highways radiating from the capital, with 113 provinces interconnected by 372 roads – nearly a quarter of a million miles in total. At the time, and for years to come, this was the bestconnected…

access_time3 min.
1750 gowin knight revolutionises the navigational compass

Soon Knight’s compasses were standard issue for all ships embarking on international voyages Being a great inventor does not always mean having a generous nature. Gowin Knight (1713–72) won huge acclaim at the Royal Society for his magnets and compasses, but as the first director of the British Museum, he antagonised all his curators by walling up the corridor to the toilet. Short-tempered, reclusive and mean, Knight was notoriously secretive, which contradicted the scientific ideology that research should benefit the world, not the individual. Yet reliable navigation was vital for British shipping, and the Royal Society awarded Knight its prestigious Copley Medal for his contributions to national trade and empire. The excitement had started in 1745. “Hither to I have wrote only to blot paper,” gushed an American merchant based in London, “but…

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