Humanity could not exist without constant progress, finding and introducing new technologies, inventions and discoveries. Today, many of them are outdated and unnecessary, while others, like the wheel, still serve.
The maelstrom of time has swallowed many discoveries, and some of them waited for their recognition and implementation only after tens and hundreds of years. Numerous questions were asked in order to find out which inventions of mankind are the most significant.
One thing is clear - there is no consensus. Nevertheless, a universal ten of the greatest discoveries in human history was compiled.
Surprisingly, it turned out that the advances in modern science have not shaken the significance of some basic discoveries for most people. Most of the inventions are so old that it seems difficult to name their author exactly.
Fire. The first place is difficult to dispute. People discovered the beneficial properties of fire for a long time. With its help, it was possible to warm and illuminate, change the taste properties of food. Initially, man dealt with "wild" fire, arising from fires or volcanic eruptions. Fear was replaced by curiosity, so the flame migrated to the cave. Over time, a person learned to make fire himself, he became his constant companion, the basis of the economy, protection from animals. As a result, many subsequent discoveries became possible only thanks to fire - ceramics, metallurgy, steam engines, etc. The path to independently obtaining fire was a long one - for years people kept home fire in their caves until they learned how to extract it using friction. Two sticks of dry wood were taken, one of which had a hole. The first one was put on the ground and pressed against it. The second was inserted into the hole and began to quickly rotate between the palms. The wood was heated and ignited. Of course, this process required a certain skill. With the development of mankind, other methods of obtaining open fire have arisen.
Wheel. The Cart is closely connected with this discovery. Scientists believe that the prototype of the wheel was the rollers, which were placed under stones and tree trunks during their transportation. Probably, then someone observant and noticed the properties of rotating bodies. So, if the log-roller in the center was thinner than at the edges, then it moved more evenly, without deviating to the sides. People noticed this, and a device appeared, now called a stingray. Over time, the design changed, only two rollers at the ends, connected by an axis, remained from a solid log. Later they generally began to be made separately, fastening only later. So the wheel was discovered, which immediately began to be used in the first carts. Over the next centuries and millennia, people have worked hard to improve this important invention. At first, solid wheels were rigidly connected to the axle, rotating with it. But at a bend, a heavy wagon could break. And the wheels themselves were imperfect, they were originally made from a single piece of wood. This led to the fact that the first carts were rather slow and clumsy, and they harnessed strong, but unhurried oxen. A major step in evolution was the invention of a wheel with a hub mounted on a fixed axle. To reduce the weight of the wheel itself, they came up with cuts in it, strengthening them with transverse braces for rigidity. In the Stone Age, it was impossible to create a better option. But with the advent of metals in human life, the wheels received metal rims and spokes, it was able to rotate ten times faster and was no longer afraid of stones and wear. Fast-footed horses began to harness into the carriage, the speed increased noticeably. As a result, the wheel became a discovery that gave perhaps the most powerful impetus to the development of all technology.
Writing. Few will deny the significance of this invention for the entire development of mankind. Where would the development of our civilization go, if at a certain stage we would not have learned to fix the necessary information with certain symbols. This made it possible to save and transmit it. It is obvious that without writing our society in its present form would simply not exist. The first forms of symbols for transmitting information appeared about 6 thousand years ago. Before that, people used more primitive signals - smoke, branches ... Later, more complex ways of transmitting data arose, for example, the Incas used knots for this. Laces of different colors were tied in various knots and fastened to a stick. The addressee deciphered the message. This kind of writing was practiced in China and Mongolia. However, writing itself appeared only with the invention of graphic symbols. First, pictographic letters were accepted. On them, in the form of a picture, people schematically depicted phenomena, events, objects. Pictography was widespread in the Stone Age, and it was not necessary to study it especially. But for the transmission of complex thoughts or abstract concepts, this type of writing was not suitable. Over time, conventional signs denoting certain concepts began to be introduced into pictograms. So, the crossed arms symbolized the exchange. Gradually, primitive pictograms became clearer and more definite, the writing became ideographic. Hieroglyphic writing became its highest form. First it originated in Ancient Egypt, then spread to the Far East - Japan, China. Such symbols already made it possible to reflect any thoughts, even the most complex ones. But for an outsider it was very difficult to understand the secret, and for someone who wanted to learn to read and write, it was necessary to learn several thousand signs. As a result, only a few could have mastered this skill. And only 4 thousand years ago, the ancient Phoenicians invented the alphabet of letters and sounds, which became a model for many other peoples. The Phoenicians began to use 22 consonants, each of which denoted a different sound. The new letter made it possible to transfer any word in a graphic way, and it became much easier to learn writing. Now it has become the property of the entire society, this fact served as the rapid spread of the alphabet throughout the world. It is believed that 80% of the alphabets common today have exactly Phoenician roots. The last significant changes in the Phoenician letters were made by the Greeks - they began to denote by letters not only consonants, but also vowels. The Greek alphabet, in turn, formed the basis of most European ones.
Paper. This invention is closely related to the previous one. The Chinese became the inventors of paper. It's hard to call it an accident. Since ancient times, China has been famous not only for its love of books, but also for its complex system of bureaucratic management with constant reports. That is why there was a special need for inexpensive and compact writing material. Before paper appeared, people used to write on silk and bamboo boards. However, these materials were poorly suited - silk was expensive and bamboo was heavy and bulky. It is said that some of the compositions required a whole cart to transport. The invention of paper came from the processing of silk cocoons. Women boiled them, and then, spreading them out on a mat, ground them until smooth. Water was drained out of it, receiving silk cotton wool. After this treatment, a thin fibrous layer remained on the mats, which, after drying, turned into paper suitable for writing. Later, for its purposeful preparation, they began to use defective cocoons. Such paper was called cotton and was quite expensive. Over time, the question arose - is it possible to make paper not only from silk? Or any fibrous raw material, preferably of plant origin, is suitable for these purposes. The story goes that in 105 a certain official Tsai Lun was able to create a new grade of paper from old fishing nets. Its quality was comparable to silk, and the price was much lower. This discovery became important both for the country and for the entire civilization. People received high-quality and affordable material for writing, for which they did not find an equivalent replacement. The following centuries brought several important improvements to the papermaking technology, the process itself began to develop rapidly. In the IV century, paper finally supplanted bamboo planks, it soon became known that it was possible to produce from cheap plant materials - tree bark, bamboo and reeds. This was especially important, because it is bamboo that grows in large quantities in China. The production secrets have been kept in the strictest confidence for several centuries. But in 751, some Chinese were captured by them in a clash with the Arabs. This is how the secret became known to the Arabs, who for five centuries were profitably selling paper to Europe. In 1154, the production of paper was established in Italy, soon the craft was mastered in Germany and England. In the following centuries, paper became widespread, conquering all new areas of application. Its significance is so great that our era is even sometimes called "paper".
Gunpowder and firearms. This European discovery has played a huge role in human history. Many people knew how to make an explosive mixture, Europeans were the last of the civilized peoples who learned to do this. But they were the ones who were able to derive practical benefit from this discovery. The first consequences of the invention of gunpowder were the development of firearms and a revolution in military affairs. Social shifts also followed - invincible knights in armor retreated before the fire of guns and guns. The feudal society received a strong blow from which it could no longer recover. As a result, powerful centralized states arose. Gunpowder itself, many centuries before its appearance in Europe, was invented in China. An important component of the powder was saltpeter, which in some regions of the country was generally found in its native form, resembling snow. Setting fire to a mixture of saltpeter and coal, the Chinese began to observe small flares. At the turn of the 5th and 6th centuries, the properties of saltpeter were first described by the Chinese physician Tao Hong-ching. Since then, this substance has been used as a component of some drugs. The appearance of the first sample of gunpowder is attributed to the alchemist Sun Si-miao, who prepared a mixture of sulfur and saltpeter, adding pieces of locust wood to them. When heated, a strong flash of flame occurred, which was recorded by the scientist in his treatise "Dan Jing". The composition of the gunpowder was further improved by his colleagues, who experimentally established three main components - potassium nitrate, sulfur and coal. The medieval Chinese could not scientifically explain the effects of the explosion, but soon adapted to use gunpowder for military purposes. However, this did not have a revolutionary effect. The fact is that the mixture was prepared from unrefined components, which gave only an incendiary effect. Only in the XII-XIII centuries, the Chinese created weapons that resembled firearms, and the rocket and petard were also invented. Soon the Mongols and the Arabs, and from them the Europeans, learned the secret. The second discovery of gunpowder is attributed to the monk Berthold Schwarz, who began to grind a crushed mixture of saltpeter, coal and sulfur in a mortar. The explosion scorched the beard of the tester, but the thought came to his mind that such energy could be used to throw stones. At first, the gunpowder was floury, and it was inconvenient to use it, since the powder sticks to the walls of the barrels. After that, we noticed that it is much more convenient to use gunpowder in lumps and grains. This also gave more gases on ignition.
Means of communication - telephone, telegraph, radio, Internet and others. Even 150 years ago, the only way to exchange information between Europe and England, America and the colonies was only steamship mail. People learned about what was happening in other countries with a delay of weeks or even months. So, news from Europe to America went for at least 2 weeks. That is why the advent of the telegraph fundamentally solved this problem. As a result, a technical novelty appeared in all parts of the planet, allowing news from one hemisphere to reach the other in a matter of hours and minutes. During the day, interested parties received business and political news, stock market reports. The telegraph made it possible to transmit written messages over distances. But soon the inventors thought about a new means of communication that could transmit the sounds of a human voice or music to any distance. The first experiments on this issue were carried out in 1837 by the American physicist Page. His simple but visual experiments proved that, in principle, it is possible to transmit sound using electricity. A series of subsequent experiments, discoveries and implementations led to the appearance in our today's life of the telephone, television, the Internet and other modern means of communication, which have revolutionized the life of society.
Car. Like some of the greatest inventions on the list, the automobile not only influenced its era, but also spawned a new one. This discovery is not limited to just one area of transport. The automobile has shaped the modern industry, spawned new industries and restructured production itself. It has become massive and in-line. Even the planet has changed - now it is surrounded by millions of kilometers of roads, and the ecology has also deteriorated. And even human psychology has changed. Today, the influence of the car is so multifaceted that it is present in all areas of human life. There were many glorious pages in the history of the invention, but the most interesting relates to the first years of its existence. In general, the speed with which the car reached its maturity cannot but impress. In just a quarter of a century, the unreliable toy has become a massive and popular vehicle. There are now about a billion cars in the world. The main features of a modern car were formed 100 years ago. The forerunner of the petrol car was the steam car. Back in 1769, the Frenchman Cunyu created a steam cart that could carry up to 3 tons of cargo, moving, however, at a speed of up to 4 km / h. The machine was sluggish, and working with the boiler was difficult and dangerous. But the idea of steam-powered movement captivated the followers. In 1803, Trivaitik built the first steam engine in England, which could carry up to 10 passengers, accelerating to 15 km / h. London onlookers were delighted! The car in the modern sense appeared only with the discovery of the internal combustion engine. In 1864, the vehicle of the Austrian Markus was born, which was powered by a gasoline engine. But the glory of the official inventors of the car went to two Germans - Daimler and Benz. The latter was the owner of a plant for the production of two-stroke gas engines. There were enough funds for leisure and development of their own cars. In 1891, the owner of a rubber factory, Edouard Michelin, invented a removable pneumatic tire for a bicycle, and after 4 years tires were also produced for cars. In the same 1895, tires were tested in the course of races, although they were constantly punctured, but it became clear that they give cars a smooth ride, making the ride more comfortable.
Electric lamp. And this invention appeared in our life recently, at the end of the 19th century. First, lighting appeared on the streets of cities, and then it entered residential buildings. Today, the life of a civilized person is hard to imagine without electric light. This discovery had enormous consequences. Electricity has revolutionized the energy sector, forcing industry to change significantly. In the 19th century, two types of light bulbs became widespread - arc and incandescent lamps. The first to appear were arc lamps, the glow of which was based on such a phenomenon as the voltaic arc. If you connect two wires connected to a strong current, and then move them apart, then a glow will appear between their ends. For the first time this phenomenon was observed by the Russian scientist Vasily Petrov in 1803, and the Englishman Devi described such an effect only in 1810. The use of a voltaic arc as a source of illumination was described by both scientists. However, arc lamps had the inconvenience - as the electrodes burned out, they had to be constantly moved towards each other. Exceeding the distance between them entailed a flicker of light. In 1844, the Frenchman Foucault developed the first arc lamp in which the length of the arc could be adjusted manually. Within 4 years, this invention was applied to illuminate one of the squares in Paris. In 1876, the Russian engineer Yablochkov improved the design - the electrodes, replaced by coals, were already parallel to each other, and the distance between the ends always remained unchanged. In 1879, the American inventor Edison set about improving the design. He came to the conclusion that for a long and bright glow of a light bulb, a suitable material for the filament is needed, as well as the creation of a rarefied space around. Edison on a grand scale conducted a lot of experiments, it is estimated that at least 6 thousand various compounds were tested. The research cost the American 100 thousand dollars. Edison gradually began to use metals for the thread, eventually settling on carbonized bamboo fibers. As a result, in the presence of 3 thousand spectators, the inventor publicly demonstrated the electric bulbs he developed, illuminating not only his house, but also several neighboring streets with them. Edison's light bulb was the first to be long lasting and suitable for mass production.
Antibiotics This place is devoted to wonderful medicines, in particular, penicillin. Antibiotics have become one of the major discoveries of the last century, revolutionizing medicine. Today, not everyone understands how much they owe such medications. Many will be surprised to learn that as early as 80 years ago tens of thousands of people died of dysentery, pneumonia was a deadly disease, sepsis threatened the death of almost all surgical patients, typhus was dangerous and difficult to cure, and pneumonic plague sounded like a death sentence. But all these terrible diseases, as well as others, previously incurable (tuberculosis), were defeated by antibiotics. The drugs have had a significant impact on military medicine. Previously, most of the soldiers died not from bullets, but from festering wounds. After all, millions of bacteria-cocci penetrated there, which caused pus, sepsis, gangrene. The maximum that the surgeon could do was to amputate the affected part of the body. It turned out that you can fight dangerous microorganisms with the help of their fellows. Some of them, in the course of their vital activity, secrete substances that are capable of destroying other microbes. This idea appeared in the 19th century. Louis Pasteur discovered that anthrax bacilli are killed by some other microbes. Over time, experiments and discoveries have given the world penicillin. For seasoned field surgeons, this medicine has become a true miracle. The most hopeless patients got on their feet, overcoming blood poisoning or pneumonia. The discovery and creation of penicillin is considered one of the most significant discoveries in the history of all medicine, giving a huge impetus to its development.
Sail and ship. The sail arose in a person's life a long time ago, when there was a desire to go to sea and build boats for this. The first sail was an ordinary animal skin. The sailor had to hold it with his hands and orient it constantly relative to the wind. When people came up with the idea to use masts and yards, it is not known, but already on the most ancient images of ships from the times of the Egyptian Queen Hatshepsut, various devices for working with a sail, rigging are visible. Thus, it is clear that the sail dates back to prehistoric times. It is believed that the first large sailing ships appeared in Egypt, and the Nile became the first navigable river. Every year the mighty river overflowed, cutting off cities and regions from each other. So the Egyptians had to master shipping. At that time, ships played a much greater role in the country's economic life than carriages on wheels. One of the first types of ships is the barge, which is more than 7 thousand years old. Her models have come down to us from temples. Since in Egypt there was little forest for the construction of the first ships, papyrus was used for these purposes. Its features determined the design and shape of the ships. They were a sickle-shaped boat, tied from bundles of papyrus, with the nose and stern curved upward. The hull of the vessel, for strength, was pulled together with cables. Over time, trade with the Phoenicians gave the country the Lebanese cedar, wood firmly entered shipbuilding. Compositions 5 thousand years ago give reason to count. That then the Egyptians used a straight sail, mounted on a two-legged mast. It was possible to sail only in the wind, and in a crosswind, the mast was quickly removed. About 4,600 years ago, the one-legged mast was introduced, which is still in use today. It became easier for the ship to navigate, it gained the ability to maneuver. However, at that time, the rectangular sail was very unreliable, moreover, it could only be used with a fair wind. So it turned out that the main engine of the ship at that time was the muscular strength of the rowers. Then the maximum speed of the ships of the pharaohs was 12 km / h. Merchant ships traveled mainly along the coast, without going far out to sea. The next step in the development of ships was made by the Phoenicians, who initially had excellent building materials. 5 thousand years ago, with the beginning of the development of maritime trade, the Phoenicians began to build ships. Moreover, their ships initially had design features from boats. Stiffening ribs, covered with boards on top, were installed on one-timber. The idea of such a design was probably pushed by the skeletons of animals. In fact, this is how the first frames appeared, which are still used today. It was the Phoenicians who created the first keeled ship. The keel was initially played by two trunks connected at an angle. This gave the ships more stability, becoming the basis for the future development of shipbuilding and defining the shape of all future ships.