History, and the change of human civilization, is driven by scientific and technological innovations. Below I list some breakthroughs in the last 500 years; the list could be a lot longer, and the pace of innovation seems to increase dramatically in recent years, because we can use our innovations, especially computers, to invent even smarter machines, and revolutionize every area of life.
Whether all this translates into real progress for us remains an open question.
Mid-13th Century: Gunpowder. 1
1453 Gutenberg invents the Printing Press.
1769 Steam engine, around 1769. This drives the industrial revolution.
1821 Michael Faraday invents the first electric motor.
1876: Alexander Bell makes worlds first long distance telephone call.
1903: First airplane flight, Wright brothers.
1945 Two atomic bombs explode over Japan.
1969 First man lands on the moon.
1977: The first personal computers come on the market.
1991: CERN publicizes the new World Wide Web project.
2003: Decoding of the human genome complete.
- Gunpowder is discovered in the West, probably introduced to the Islamic world by the Mongols who got it from China. It seems the Chinese invented gunpowder already in the 9th century. The invention then was introduced to Europe, and it revolutionized warfare. Castles became obsolete after the introduction of gunpowder. ↩