Alright, at the outset I have to make something clear. You could probably live without some of these inventions. However, life would be only half as convenient and a quarter the fun. And yes you've probably heard of quite a few of them. But do you really know why they’re so important? Or what they do, for that matter? Either way please bear with me -- all will be revealed in due time.
This list pays homage to the inventions that pass right under our eyes as we perform daily tasks. We may come in contact with them or we might not as we go through the perfunctory routines of our lives but for some reason we just don’t notice. Here’s to the inventions that are behind the scenes that are pulling all the weight for those that take all the glory (I’m talking to you television and light bulbs!) You know what? This is about more than simple inventions. This is about all those who are disenfranchised and those who still worked hard without receiving any credit. This is for the ones who toil and bear hardships without getting their due. This is for the guy sitting in your eighth grade math class that did all the pretty girl’s homework. Come on people, let’s show some respect.
10 The Sextant, 1757
9 Steel Framing, 1884
8 The Turing Machine
7 Archimedes’ Screw, 3rd Century BC
6 The Gregorian Calendar, 1582
5 Vacuum Tubes
4 Alternating Current
3 The Semi-Conductor
2 Pasteurization, 1863
1 Nitrogen Fixation, 1918
It seems, now that I look back on this list, that I utilized my own lack of knowledge regarding the hardware found in a modern day computer to compile this list. So, I thought that I should save the final and most important invention for a discipline that was different. Fritz Haber was awarded the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1919 for his work on nitrogen fixation. He found that, given the addition of high pressure and a catalyst, it was possible to create ammonia by reacting nitrogen and hydrogen gas. The result was the ability to manufacture fertilizers in large scale (thanks to Karl Bosch), a development that would allow farmers to grow more food in less space and time.
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