Just the Facts: Inventors that Changed America: On the Go & Medical
On the Go: British train engineer Richard Trevithick gave the world its first steam railway locomotive in 1804. By 1930, railroad was the most popular form of transportation for both people and goods. Henry Ford was a brilliant mechanic with a vision: He wanted to make cars affordable to all classes of society, not just the wealthy. In 1907, he installed a moving assembly line, which not only made autos affordable for almost everyone, but also reinvented industry.
Wilbur and Orville Wright, who owned a bicycle shop, made history on December 17, 1903, with their first flight at Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, and changed history because they preferred wings to wheels. The flight revolution continued when Igor Sikorsky left the ground for the first time in the first working helicopter in 1939. Robert Goddard expanded our knowledge of the universe with his invention of the modern rocket.
Medical Milestones: Herbert Boyer and Stanley Cohen unlocked the hidden secrets of DNA with genetic engineering, opening the way for the development of new drugs and increased food production, as well as cloning. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, revolutionized medical treatment, and won the Nobel Prize in 1945. Charles Drew pioneered blood banks by developing a new way to house plasma. He was also the first African-American surgeon appointed to the American Board of Surgery. Finally, Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine, which was pronounced effective in 1955. He became known as the man who saved the children by ridding the world of polio.
Just the Facts: Inventors that Changed America: Strong Connection
Science marches forward, led by great inventors who changed America and the world. This program focuses on inventors who revolutionized communications and those whose brilliance gave us lasers, plastic, computers, and transistors.
Strong Connections: Brave New World:
Thomas Edison still holds the record for patents – he held 1,093 patents and claimed countless inventions, including many that changed our lives: the incandescent light bulb, the phonograph, and the first movie camera. Alexander Graham Bell developed the first version of the telephone in 1876, and his invention still has people all over the world talking more than a century later. Guglielmo Marconi invented the radio, which entered America’s living rooms as the primary source of entertainment early in the 20th century. His invention also saved lives on the Titanic. Software engineer Tim Berners-Lee invented software that became the World Wide Web, which debuted in 1991 and allowed for the universal exchange of information from any digital port.
Physicist Gordon Gould discovered lasers, which are used for such diverse purposes as buying groceries, correcting vision, and sending packages. Chemist Leo Baekeland discovered one of the most important products of the 20th century – plastic. Alan Turing invented computers, originally to crack German code during World War II. Now we use computers in nearly every facet of our lives. Leo Szilard developed the theory of chain reaction and worked with the Manhattan Project to develop the atomic bomb. When the United States dropped the bomb on Hiroshima in 1945, the event helped shape the modern world. In 1947, William Shockley contributed one of the greatest inventions of the modern world – the transistor, which revolutionized electronics, from cell phones to computers and radios to rockets.