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Some of the most significant innovations of the 20th Century Research Paper

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Updated: Jun 20th, 2019

Introduction

There is no doubt that the 20th century is probably the most remarkable in the history of mankind. It is remembered by the developments in technological innovations, which have had some positive and negative impacts on humanity. The 20th century is renowned for numerous innovations and discoveries.

It is impossible to narrow down to the most significant inventions. This paper will explore some of the technological developments that have been regarded as the most remarkable achievements in this century. However, due to the huge number of innovations in the 20th century, some inventions have been omitted. This research paper will focus on the technologies that have had the most significant impact on humanity. The 20th century is considered to be the most successful era with regard to innovation and technological development.

Nuclear power

The invention of nuclear power can be equated to the steam engine that was developed in the 19th century, which was a significant transformation. This innovation provided the human race with a source of power that did not cause pollution to the environment. This energy is considered to be particularly effective and unlimited.

However, nuclear energy also has a negative side to it. This innovation has also been used to develop the most deadly and devastating weaponry that mankind has ever seen. The magnitude of the destruction caused by a nuclear bomb is a significant hazard to peace and survival of human beings. Nuclear plants are also known to have spilled harmful radioactive substances.

These substances have rendered certain regions uninhabitable for decades. A good example is the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. However, nuclear power also has its positive impacts. For instance, the fear of the mutual ability to cause destruction deterred the super powers from starting a third world war. It is also an efficient and cost-effective alternative for energy capable of providing electricity to the entire world (Bulliet 502).

The computer

It is impossible for the human race to think of the world in the absence of computers. This machine has been in existence since the Second World War. However the earlier versions of the computer were very costly, slow in response and clunky. The subsequent introduction of the apple version of computers by Stephen Jobs and Steve Wozniak revolutionized computer innovations.

In this modern world, these machines are found in every sector. Human beings have developed a dependency on computers such that the lack of one makes life incomplete for most individuals. Computers are used as a source of livelihood. They are used to organize personal and corporate finances (Bulliet 381-382).

The internet

The development of the computer superseded the typewriter. It revolutionized the art of writing. However, the internet is what made the computer the magnificent machine it is today. The airplane reduced global travel to just a few hours; the internet reduced this distance considerably to just a few seconds. This service has made it possible for information to be sent and received from nations considered to be repressive.

It has also been able to encourage revolutions and disseminate propaganda at lightening speeds. The internet has emerged as a vital resource for learning institutions, as well as mass media organizations. The World Wide Web has helped various organizations to transform their operations. For instance, the banking industry has used the internet to link all their branches, enabling clients to make transactions from any location (“Top 10 Inventions of the 20th Century” par 10).

The airplane

The significance of the airplane in the 20th century can be equated to the transformations attained through the locomotive engine during the 19th century. The locomotive helped to bridge distances over land while the airplane reduced the time spent in travelling by a few hours.

The airplanes provide a fast and safe mode of travelling. They are also used for other purposes such as weather forecasting and applying pesticides in agriculture. However, the most remarkable transformation it was associated with is how it revolutionized the art of war. Despite its advantages, it has also had a negative impact in the destruction of cities and killing of civilians because of the proximity of warfare to cities (Bulliet 473).

The automobile

Although it was under-developed during the 19th century, it was not used as a form of transportation before the 20th century. The automobile has transformed the transportation sector by making it easy to transport goods to the markets.

This has enhanced trade during the 20th century, which has witnessed a remarkable growth in business transactions. Before the Ford T model was introduced, motor vehicles were a preserve of the rich and affluent within the society. It has provided a relative form of mobility and freedom of movement which has had a positive impact on humanity (Jedicke 31-33).

The rocket

The first documented evidence of a rocket is attributed to the Chinese. This dates back to over 3000 years ago. It was used as a weapon in the ancient communities of China and Greece. However, the significant developments in rocket science occurred during the 20th century.

They were built much larger and had more power. The most significant development in the 20th century is that, they could now be controlled with precision. They have been used as weapons, but most importantly as a transport mechanism to reach outer space. It has enabled humanity to explore outer space and transport satellites. These satellites are used to monitor the weather, facilitate mobile communications, and run the GPS (“Top 10 Inventions of the 20th Century” par. 6).

The submarine

Submersible vessels have been used in warfare historically. However, the first submarine was developed in the late 1880s. In the 20th century, the modern version was invented. The submarine was used as an irritating weapon in the First World War.

However, in the Second World War it sunk more vessels than any other type of military machinery. With the development of nuclear power, the submarine became virtually invisible. Most of the developed nations have a fleet of submarines in their navy. However, they have also revolutionized deep sea expeditions since they assist in marine research (Constable & Somerville 221).

Antibiotics

Antibiotics have revolutionized medical health care. Therefore, before the discovery of penicillin, any disease that human beings contracted could be fatal. However, after the discovery made by Alexander Fleming in 1928, more innovations were witnessed in the development of antibiotics.

This significantly reduced deaths resulting from bacterial infections. The outcome of this development was a reduction in the mortality rate and an increase in life expectancy. Antibiotics have also helped to eradicate several diseases from the face of the earth such as small pox (“Top 10 Inventions of the 20th Century”9).

Conclusion

The 20th century is considered to be the most successful era in relation to innovation and technological development. The innovations discussed in this paper are considered as some of the most significant during this period. It is imaginable to perceive the world today without these remarkable inventions and discoveries. Without them, life to the human race would be unbearable.

Works Cited

Bulliet, Richard W. The Columbia History of the 20th Century. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. Print.

Constable, George, and Bob Somerville. A Century of Innovation: Twenty Engineering Achievements That Transformed Our Lives. Washington, D.C: Joseph Henry, 2003. Print.

Jedicke, Peter. Scientific American. New York: Chelsea House, 2006. Print.

Top 10 Inventions of the 20th Century. 2013. Web. <>

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