I.1 What is technology?
I.2 First Inventors
I.3 How science affects technology
I.4 Discussion questions
I.1 What is technology?
Think for a moment what it might be like to live in the 14th century. Image that you could travel back in time and found yourself in a small European village in 1392. What do you think you would find? How would you cook your food? Would you use an oven, a fire, or a microwave? How would you eat your food? Do you think you could use a plastic cup to drink your milk? How would you go from one city to the next? Could you get on a train or would you have to walk or ride a horse? How would you send a message to your mom ...view middle of the document...
But modern technology began once scientific thought (philosophy), astronomy, and mathematics began to blend together sometime after the 15th century. The first inventor who combined engineering with science was Archimedes of Syracuse . He is credited with inventing the Archimedian screw for raising water, which is still used in Egypt. He is also credited with inventing the cross-staff for use in astronomy, and the odometer which measures how far someone has traveled. The most famous story about Archimedes is when he was told by the king to find out if the king’s crown was made of solid gold. He had to figure out a way to test if the king’s crown was made of gold without melting it. This was a puzzle for Archimedes. It is said that one day he noticed that his body would displace the bath water. Seeing this he realized he could use the displacement of water as a way to measure the crown’s volume (and thus its density upon weighing it). The story goes that at this point Archimedes jumped out of the tub and ran through the streets naked shouting “Eureka I have found it!” No one is certain if the story is true, but it does give you an idea how
exciting new discoveries in technology can be!
I.3 How science shapes technology
Before formal scientific disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, astronomy and biology were defined, many early inventors simply experimented with items around them trying to come up with ways to improve their lives. Inventions and discoveries often happen by accident. Glass, for example, is said to have been discovered by Phoenician sailors in 4000 BC. The story goes that while cooking their pots on nitrate blocks the blocks were melted by the fire and mixed with the sand below creating a crude glass. No one could have guessed at the time, but these sailors helped pave the way for Galileo and others to use telescopes for observing the stars. The earliest star gazers had no way to see beyond what they could observe in the sky with their own eyes. However, for these early atronomers, the technology for seeing beyond our solar system and galaxy did not yet exist. In the early 1600s Galileo Galilei observed the heavens through the first telescope. It took both the scientific idea that glass could magnify far away objects, and the craft of glass making for the first telescope to be invented. Improvements in how far a telescope could magnify were accelerated by Sir Issac Newton’s ideas for using a curved mirror rather than glass for the lens. Because Newton understood the science of light called optics, he was able to add to the technological advance of the telescope.
Modern technology has changed people's life and people have attempted to use modern technology to improve the length and quality of life. Yet, while modern technology has given people more convenience, it also has negative effects on human...