Here’s an intriguing thought…
Bletchley Park’s code breaking Bombe devices and the World Wide Web have been voted as the most important technological advances of the C20th in a series of polls run in conjunction with the computer company as they celebrate their 100th anniversary.
- The Bombe helped the Allies to repeatedly crack the Nazi’s Enigma Code using the work of the mathematician Alan Turing.
- The work of Tim Berners Lee is still incredibly only 20 years old but we don’t need history to tell us of the significance of it’s impact on society.
Looking backwards from present to past, formulates a new way of looking forward, or at least it should.
Tim Berners Lee was asked if he had any clue how dramatically the web would affect society answered;
“I certainly did not and wonder how many did, it’s rather like, did Gutenberg or Bell or Marconi really realise at the time the impact on history of their inventions? I suspect not”
This century has seen such technological advances that only a historical perspective will reveal the true impact of the scientific advances on society.
How to measure the impact of science on society, will we view the impact of advances such as in Atomic Theory to have a steady but gradual affect on how we live or will it be the spectacular event, such as the dropping of the atomic bomb in WWII that changed how society operated?
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What would our ancestors have voted the most significant advance of their last hundred years, maybe the smallpox vaccination, the London sewage system or the railway, who knows…..