Science for science’s sake might change the world: As it has before.
The invention of the printing press is considered one of the most significant technological advancements in human history.
In one fell swoop, it revolutionized the way information was disseminated, leading to a dramatic increase in the spread of knowledge and, eventually, the democratization of education.
The printing press was first perfected by Johannes Gutenberg — a German goldsmith and entrepreneur — around the mid-15th century. Gutenberg’s invention built upon existing technologies and concepts, such as movable type and the use of presses, but he made several crucial innovations that set his printing press apart.
Gutenberg’s printing press changed the world, but it didn’t do so right away.
Determining the precise average literacy rate in the mid-15th century is challenging due to limited historical data and variations across different regions. However, it is estimated that in Europe, literacy rates ranged from around 5% to 30% among the general population during the time Gutenberg was tinkering with his press.
Today, the average global literacy rate for individuals aged 15 years and older is estimated to be around 86.3%. For most European countries, it is closer to 96%.
The invention of the internal combustion engine was another landmark human achievement.
The internal combustion engine is a type of heat engine that converts the chemical energy stored in fuel into mechanical work by igniting and burning a mixture of fuel and air within a combustion chamber.
While various precursors and experiments paved the way for the development of the internal combustion engine, its invention is often attributed to Nikolaus Otto, a German engineer. In 1867, Otto introduced the first commercially successful four-stroke internal combustion engine, known as the “Otto engine.” His design became the foundation for the modern internal combustion engines used in automobiles, motorcycles, and many other applications
The internal combustion engine revolutionized transportation and had a profound impact on industrialization and modern society.