In the nineteenth century there was apparently a stronger link between science and invention and a much more closely knit society of man concerned with technical progress than is frequently supposed. The next obvious step is to try to ascertain what has been happening in the present century and, for this purpose, a study has been made of some seventy inventions which can reasonably be considered modern. In these case histories no attempt has been made to enter upon detailed technical matters; the purpose has been to identify the individual or individuals who appear to have made the greatest contribution to ultimate success, to determine the conditions under which the work was carried out and generally to try to isolate the factors which contributed to, or impeded, the advance. The information for each case was collected from printed records, which are plentiful but scattered and often conflicting; from inventors themselves wherever possible or those closely connected with them; or from scientists and technologists whose views and judgments should carry most authority.
KeywordsAcrylic Fibre Individual Inventor Tungsten Carbide Tool Tetraethyl Lead Cotton Picker
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- 2.O. R. Frisch, The Times Supplement, Oct. 17th, 1956.Google Scholar
- 2.It has been doubted whether the theories regarding nuclear energy will ever have the same impact upon material change as did the structural theory of organic chemistry in the nineteenth century. (F. Greenaway, ‘The History of Science and the Common Reader’, The Listener, Nov. 10th, 1955.)Google Scholar
- 2.In the British White Paper, A Programme of Nuclear Power, published in 1955, it was assumed that the first stations would produce 100–200 megawatts of electricity. In 1956 it was announced that they would produce 200–300 megawatts. This, fortunately, was an error in a favourable direction.Google Scholar
- 4.See the O.E.E.C. Report, Europe’s Growing Needs of Energy, How Can They be Met?, 1956.Google Scholar