The mother of all inventions
From V2 rockets to antibiotics, innovations have changed the world. But which is the greatest in history?
Wednesday 10 June 2009
The Science Museum, favourite haunt of aspiring astronauts and eccentric professors, celebrates its centenary this month. To mark the occasion, it is today launching a public vote to choose the most important scientific invention of the past few centuries. Curators have selected 10 objects which they believe to be most significant in the history of science, engineering, technology and medicine and are inviting the public to decide the winner. Voting will take place over the summer for the innovation which they believe has had (or will have) the greatest impact on the past, present or future.
The iconic objects are being organised into a Centenary Journey trail, which will open at the museum later this month. The winning object will be announced in October.
Tim Boon, chief curator of the museum, admitted the idea of scientific “progress” was controversial. “Some of the objects may divide opinion. Would we be better off if some of the “icons”, which have had negative consequences, had not been invented? We are looking forward to a great debate.”
Some of the museum’s supporters have already made their choice. Trevor Baylis, inventor of the clockwork radio, is voting for the V2 rocket engine: “It’s one of the greatest achievements of our time because it led to space exploration, and then satellite development, which then led to mobile phones and the astounding communication services we enjoy today.”
Musician Nitin Sawhney chooses penicillin: “As an asthmatic recovering from a debilitating bout of pneumonia, I am painfully aware of how important a role penicillin has played in curing my lung infection. In this regard I’m hardly alone.”
Television presenter and biologist Alice Roberts’s vote is going elsewhere:
“As a doctor and anatomist, I’m championing the X-ray machine. X-rays provided the first possibility of looking inside someone’s body without cutting them open.”
Television presenter James May votes for the Apollo 10, “as it represents the furthest reach to date of manned exploration.” Broadcaster Adam Hart-Davis believes the steam engine to be “the most important step forward in technology of all time.”
Nominate your favourite inventions in the comments form below
Sales of the tablet are set to fall again, say analysts
Met Police confirm there was a 'minor disturbance' and that no-one was arrested
George Lucas criticises the major Hollywood film studios
Does Chris Grayling realise what a vague concept he is dealing with?
Trend which requires crisps, a fork and a strong stomach is sweeping Mexico's streets
Parties threaten resort's image as a family destination
I Am Bread could actually be a challenging and nuanced title
- 1 Indian footballer Peter Biaksangzuala dies after injuring spine doing somersault celebration
- 2 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 3 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
- 4 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 5 Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake report claiming that the street artist's identity has been revealed
'Russian submarine spotted' by Swedish military off coast of Stockholm
Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
Kentucky gang rape: 15-year-old boy left in critical condition after sexual attack by group at party
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver allegedly kicks gay couple off for kissing
Amal Alamuddin calls for the return of the Elgin Marbles from Britain: 'Injustice has persisted for too long'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
£80 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Year 5 Teacher KS2 teaching job...
£35000 - £45000 Per Annum Pensions Scheme After 6 Months: Clearwater People So...
£35000 - £37000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst / Busines...
£30000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ampersand Consulting LLP: Senior Change ...