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How We Got to Now: Six Innovations That Made the Modern World by Steven Johnson
A. Roger Ekirch, Ada Lovelace, big-box store, British Empire, butterfly effect, clean water, crowdsourcing, cuban missile crisis, Danny Hillis, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Ignaz Semmelweis: hand washing, indoor plumbing, interchangeable parts, invention of air conditioning, invention of the printing press, invention of the telescope, inventory management, Jacquard loom, John Snow's cholera map, Kevin Kelly, Live Aid, lone genius, Louis Pasteur, low earth orbit, Marshall McLuhan, mass immigration, megacity, Menlo Park, Murano, Venice glass, planetary scale, refrigerator car, Richard Feynman, Silicon Valley, Skype, Steve Jobs, Stewart Brand, the scientific method, transcontinental railway, Upton Sinclair, walkable city, women in the workforce
The Flea (engraving from Robert Hooke’s Micrographia, London) The microscope took nearly three generations to produce truly transformative science, but for some reason the telescope generated its revolutions more quickly. Twenty years after the invention of the microscope, a cluster of Dutch lensmakers, including Zacharias Janssen, more or less simultaneously invented the telescope. (Legend has it that one of them, Hans Lippershey, stumbled upon the idea while watching his children playing with his lenses.) Lippershey was the first to apply for a patent, describing a device “for seeing things far away as if they were nearby.” Within a year, Galileo got word of this miraculous new device, and modified the Lippershey design to reach a magnification of ten times normal vision. In January of 1610, just two years after Lippershey had filed for his patent, Galileo used the telescope to observe that moons were orbiting Jupiter, the first real challenge to the Aristotelian paradigm that assumed all heavenly bodies circled the Earth.
Appropriately enough, they also make it a sublime location for stargazing. Today, the summit of Mauna Kea is crowned by thirteen distinct observatories, massive white domes scattered across the red rocks like some gleaming outpost on a distant planet. Included in this group are the twin telescopes of the W. M. Keck Observatory, the most powerful optical telescopes on earth. The Keck telescopes would seem to be a direct descendant of Hans Lippershey’s creation, only they do not rely on lenses to do their magic. To capture light from distant corners of the universe, you would need lenses the size of a pickup truck; at that size, glass becomes difficult to physically support and introduces inevitable distortions into the image. And so, the scientists and engineers behind Keck employed another technique to capture extremely faint traces of light: the mirror.
Where Good Ideas Come from: The Natural History of Innovation by Steven Johnson
Ada Lovelace, Albert Einstein, Alfred Russel Wallace, carbon-based life, Cass Sunstein, cleantech, complexity theory, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, creative destruction, crowdsourcing, data acquisition, digital Maoism, digital map, discovery of DNA, Dmitri Mendeleev, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, Douglas Engelbart, Douglas Engelbart, Drosophila, Edmond Halley, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Ernest Rutherford, Geoffrey West, Santa Fe Institute, greed is good, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, hive mind, Howard Rheingold, hypertext link, invention of air conditioning, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, Isaac Newton, Islamic Golden Age, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, Jane Jacobs, Jaron Lanier, Johannes Kepler, John Snow's cholera map, Joseph Schumpeter, Joseph-Marie Jacquard, Kevin Kelly, lone genius, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, Mason jar, mass immigration, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, online collectivism, packet switching, PageRank, patent troll, pattern recognition, price mechanism, profit motive, Ray Oldenburg, Richard Florida, Richard Thaler, Ronald Reagan, side project, Silicon Valley, silicon-based life, six sigma, Solar eclipse in 1919, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, Stewart Brand, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, The Great Good Place, The Wisdom of Crowds, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, transaction costs, urban planning
STOCKING FRAME (1589) English clergyman William Lee created the first working version of a stocking frame, a mechanical knitting machine used in the textile industry to mimic the motions of hand-knitting. Following the inventor’s death, one of his assistants made a number of improvements on the device that much improved its functionality. COMPOUND MICROSCOPE (1590) Though a definite consensus does not exist on who invented the compound microscope, most historians credit either the Dutch spectacle maker Zacharias Janssen and his son Hans, or the German optician Hans Lippershey. In 1609 Galileo re-formed Janssen’s original design into a more efficient machine. In the 1670s, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek first applied the microscope to the field of biology. FLUSH TOILET (1596) A water flushing device was invented in the late sixteenth century by Sir John Harrington, who installed a functioning version for his godmother, Queen Elizabeth, at Richmond Palace. But the device didn’t take off until the late 1700s, when a watchmaker named Alexander Cumings and a cabinet-maker named Joseph Bramah filed for two separate patents on an improved version of Harrington’s design.
Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines by Thomas H. Davenport, Julia Kirby
AI winter, Andy Kessler, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, Automated Insights, autonomous vehicles, basic income, Baxter: Rethink Robotics, business intelligence, business process, call centre, carbon-based life, Clayton Christensen, clockwork universe, commoditize, conceptual framework, dark matter, David Brooks, deliberate practice, deskilling, digital map, disruptive innovation, Douglas Engelbart, Edward Lloyd's coffeehouse, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, estate planning, fixed income, follow your passion, Frank Levy and Richard Murnane: The New Division of Labor, Freestyle chess, game design, general-purpose programming language, global pandemic, Google Glasses, Hans Lippershey, haute cuisine, income inequality, index fund, industrial robot, information retrieval, intermodal, Internet of things, inventory management, Isaac Newton, job automation, John Markoff, John Maynard Keynes: Economic Possibilities for our Grandchildren, John Maynard Keynes: technological unemployment, Joi Ito, Khan Academy, knowledge worker, labor-force participation, lifelogging, longitudinal study, loss aversion, Mark Zuckerberg, Narrative Science, natural language processing, Norbert Wiener, nuclear winter, pattern recognition, performance metric, Peter Thiel, precariat, quantitative trading / quantitative ﬁnance, Ray Kurzweil, Richard Feynman, risk tolerance, Robert Shiller, Robert Shiller, Rodney Brooks, Second Machine Age, self-driving car, Silicon Valley, six sigma, Skype, social intelligence, speech recognition, spinning jenny, statistical model, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, superintelligent machines, supply-chain management, transaction costs, Tyler Cowen: Great Stagnation, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, Works Progress Administration, Zipcar
But the point is worth underscoring: winning in the age of smart machines will take many forms, because it will involve working with them in many configurations. Each cell of our matrix offers human work of different kinds, just as it features different technologies. When smart machines like Ex Machina’s Ava do arrive—perhaps in forty or fifty years—all bets are off as to how humans will relate to them. In the meantime, however, there are plenty of partnerships in which humans can thrive. 3 Don’t Automate, Augment Legend has it that Hans Lippershey, a German eyeglass maker plying his trade in 1608 in the town of Middelburg, Netherlands, got his big idea when he glanced over at two children playing with lenses he’d ground. Holding one lens behind another and peering through the shop’s window, they exclaimed at how close this made the weathervane on a distant building appear. When Lippershey soon after submitted a patent claim for the first telescope, it was clear what had happened.
Galileo's Daughter: A Historical Memoir of Science, Faith and Love by Dava Sobel
Albert Einstein, back-to-the-land, cognitive dissonance, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, Edmond Halley, germ theory of disease, Hans Lippershey, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Louis Pasteur, Murano, Venice glass, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Peace of Westphalia, retrograde motion
Tycho Brahe dies. 1603 Prince Federico Cesi founds Lyncean Academy in Rome. 1604 New star appears in the heavens, generating debate and three public lectures by Galileo. 1605 Prince Cosimo de’ Medici takes instruction from Galileo. 1606 Galileo publishes treatise on geometric and military compass; Vincenzio Galilei (son) is born in Padua. 1607 Baldessar Capra publishes pirated Latin edition of Galileo’s instructions for geometric and military compass. 1608 Hans Lippershey invents a refracting telescope in Holland. Prince Cosimo marries Maria Maddalena, archduchess of Austria. 1609 Grand Duke Ferdinando I dies; Cosimo II succeeds him. Galileo improves telescope, observes and measures mountains on the Moon. Johannes Kepler (1571-1630) publishes first two laws of planetary motion. 1610 Galileo discovers the moons of Jupiter. The Starry Messenger is published.
Augmented: Life in the Smart Lane by Brett King
23andMe, 3D printing, additive manufacturing, Affordable Care Act / Obamacare, agricultural Revolution, Airbnb, Albert Einstein, Amazon Web Services, Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, Apple II, artificial general intelligence, asset allocation, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, barriers to entry, bitcoin, blockchain, business intelligence, business process, call centre, chief data officer, Chris Urmson, Clayton Christensen, clean water, congestion charging, crowdsourcing, cryptocurrency, deskilling, different worldview, disruptive innovation, distributed generation, distributed ledger, double helix, drone strike, Elon Musk, Erik Brynjolfsson, Fellow of the Royal Society, fiat currency, financial exclusion, Flash crash, Flynn Effect, future of work, gig economy, Google Glasses, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, Hyperloop, income inequality, industrial robot, information asymmetry, Internet of things, invention of movable type, invention of the printing press, invention of the telephone, invention of the wheel, James Dyson, Jeff Bezos, job automation, job-hopping, John Markoff, John von Neumann, Kevin Kelly, Kickstarter, Kodak vs Instagram, Leonard Kleinrock, lifelogging, low earth orbit, low skilled workers, Lyft, M-Pesa, Mark Zuckerberg, Marshall McLuhan, megacity, Metcalfe’s law, Minecraft, mobile money, money market fund, more computing power than Apollo, Network effects, new economy, obamacare, Occupy movement, Oculus Rift, off grid, packet switching, pattern recognition, peer-to-peer, Ray Kurzweil, RFID, ride hailing / ride sharing, Robert Metcalfe, Satoshi Nakamoto, Second Machine Age, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), self-driving car, sharing economy, Shoshana Zuboff, Silicon Valley, Silicon Valley startup, Skype, smart cities, smart grid, smart transportation, Snapchat, social graph, software as a service, speech recognition, statistical model, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, Steve Jobs, Steve Wozniak, strong AI, TaskRabbit, technological singularity, telemarketer, telepresence, telepresence robot, Tesla Model S, The Future of Employment, Tim Cook: Apple, trade route, Travis Kalanick, Turing complete, Turing test, uber lyft, undersea cable, urban sprawl, V2 rocket, Watson beat the top human players on Jeopardy!, white picket fence, WikiLeaks
However, once lens technology appeared, using glass to magnify vision quickly became an application of the technology. Roger Bacon is said to have invented the magnifying glass around the year 1250. Evidence points to the first compound microscope (combining convex and concave lenses) appearing in the Netherlands in the late 1590s at the height of the Dutch empire. The first person to apply for a patent for a telescope was a Dutch spectacle maker named Hans Lippershey. In 1608, Lippershey laid claim to inventing a device that increased magnification by three times. His telescope had a concave eyepiece aligned with a convex objective lens. One story goes that he got the idea for his design after observing two children in his shop holding up two lenses that made a distant weather vane appear close. Others claimed at the time that he stole the design from another spectacle maker, Zacharias Jansen.
Shoot for the Moon: The Space Race and the Extraordinary Voyage of Apollo 11 by James Donovan
More information was needed before men on precisely calculated trajectories tried to land, since a slight change could mean a huge difference to a LM with a limited fuel supply. The moon still held many mysteries, and some of them had to be solved before a lunar landing could be deemed safe. In 1961, when Kennedy had issued his challenge, no one knew exactly what the surface of the moon was like. Galileo Galilei, the early-seventeenth-century Italian polymath, was not the inventor of the telescope—at least one man, a Dutchman named Hans Lippershey, had applied for a patent for one in 1608. But the more powerful telescope Galileo constructed the next year was the first to be aimed skyward. One of his first objects of study was the moon, and his detailed, accurate ink renderings of its surface—its mountains, craters, and seas—would not be significantly improved until two centuries later; even the most powerful terrestrial telescopes improved only topography, not composition.
Civilization: The West and the Rest by Niall Ferguson
Admiral Zheng, agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, Andrei Shleifer, Atahualpa, Ayatollah Khomeini, Berlin Wall, BRICs, British Empire, business cycle, clean water, collective bargaining, colonial rule, conceptual framework, Copley Medal, corporate governance, creative destruction, credit crunch, David Ricardo: comparative advantage, Dean Kamen, delayed gratification, Deng Xiaoping, discovery of the americas, Dissolution of the Soviet Union, European colonialism, Fall of the Berlin Wall, Francisco Pizarro, full employment, Hans Lippershey, haute couture, Hernando de Soto, income inequality, invention of movable type, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, James Hargreaves, James Watt: steam engine, John Harrison: Longitude, joint-stock company, Joseph Schumpeter, Kickstarter, Kitchen Debate, land reform, land tenure, liberal capitalism, Louis Pasteur, Mahatma Gandhi, market bubble, Martin Wolf, mass immigration, means of production, megacity, Mikhail Gorbachev, new economy, Pearl River Delta, Pierre-Simon Laplace, probability theory / Blaise Pascal / Pierre de Fermat, profit maximization, purchasing power parity, quantitative easing, rent-seeking, reserve currency, road to serfdom, Ronald Reagan, savings glut, Scramble for Africa, Silicon Valley, South China Sea, sovereign wealth fund, special economic zone, spice trade, spinning jenny, Steve Jobs, Steven Pinker, The Great Moderation, the market place, the scientific method, The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, Thomas Malthus, Thorstein Veblen, total factor productivity, trade route, transaction costs, transatlantic slave trade, undersea cable, upwardly mobile, uranium enrichment, wage slave, Washington Consensus, women in the workforce, World Values Survey
.* 1530 Paracelsus pioneers the application of chemistry to physiology and pathology 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus’ De revolutionibus orbium coelestium states the heliocentric theory of the solar system Andreas Vesalius’ De humani corporis fabrica supplants Galen’s anatomical textbook 1546 Agricola’s De natura fossilium classifies minerals and introduces the term ‘fossil’ 1572 Tycho Brahe records the first European observation of a supernova 1589 Galileo’s tests of falling bodies (published in De motu) revolutionize the experimental method 1600 William Gilbert’s De magnete, magnetisque corporibus describes the magnetic properties of the earth and electricity 1604 Galileo discovers that a free-falling body increases its distance as the square of the time 1608 Hans Lippershey and Zacharias Jansen independently invent the telescope 1609 1609 Galileo conducts the first telescopic observations of the night sky 1610 Galileo discovers four of Jupiter’s moons and infers that the earth is not at the centre of the universe 1614 John Napier’s Mirifici logarithmorum canonis descriptio introduces logarithms 1628 William Harvey writes Exercitatio anatomica de motu cordis et sanguinis in animalibus, accurately describing the circulation of blood 1637 René Descartes’ ‘La Géométrie’, an appendix to his Discours de la méthode, founds analytic geometry 1638 Galileo’s Discorsi e dimonstrazioni matematiche founds modern mechanics 1640 Pierre de Fermat founds number theory 1654 Fermat and Blaise Pascal found probability theory 1661 Robert Boyle’s Skeptical Chymist defines elements and chemical analysis 1662 Boyle states Boyle’s Law that the volume occupied by a fixed mass of gas in a container is inversely proportional to the pressure it exerts 1669 Isaac Newton’s De analysi per aequationes numero terminorum infinitas presents the first systematic account of the calculus, independently developed by Gottfried Leibniz 1676 Antoni van Leeuwenhoek discovers micro-organisms 1687 Newton’s Philosophiae naturalis principia mathematica states the law of universal gravitation and the laws of motion 1735 Carolus Linnaeus’ Systema naturae introduces systematic classification of genera and species of organisms 1738 Daniel Bernoulli’s Hydrodynamica states Bernoulli’s Principle and founds the mathematical study of fluid flow and the kinetic theory of gases 1746 Jean-Etienne Guettard prepares the first true geological maps 1755 Joseph Black identifies carbon dioxide 1775 Antoine Lavoisier accurately describes combustion 1785 James Hutton’s ‘Concerning the System of the Earth’ states the uniformitarian view of the earth’s development 1789 Lavoisier’s Traité élémentaire de chimie states the law of conservation of matter By the mid-1600s this kind of scientific knowledge was spreading as rapidly as had the doctrine of the Protestant Reformers a century before.
Big Bang by Simon Singh
Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, All science is either physics or stamp collecting, Andrew Wiles, anthropic principle, Arthur Eddington, Astronomia nova, Brownian motion, carbon-based life, Cepheid variable, Chance favours the prepared mind, Commentariolus, Copley Medal, cosmic abundance, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, cosmological principle, dark matter, Dava Sobel, Defenestration of Prague, discovery of penicillin, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Charles Pickering, Eratosthenes, Ernest Rutherford, Erwin Freundlich, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, Hans Lippershey, Harlow Shapley and Heber Curtis, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, horn antenna, if you see hoof prints, think horses—not zebras, Index librorum prohibitorum, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, John von Neumann, Karl Jansky, Kickstarter, Louis Daguerre, Louis Pasteur, luminiferous ether, Magellanic Cloud, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Olbers’ paradox, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Paul Erdős, retrograde motion, Richard Feynman, scientific mainstream, Simon Singh, Solar eclipse in 1919, Stephen Hawking, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions, unbiased observer, Wilhelm Olbers, William of Occam
For example, Aristotle used philosophy to deduce that heavy objects fall faster than light objects, but Galileo conducted an experiment to prove that Aristotle was wrong. He was even courageous enough to say that Aristotle, then the most acclaimed intellect in history,‘wrote the opposite of truth’. When Kepler first heard about Galileo’s use of the telescope to explore the heavens, he probably assumed that Galileo had invented the telescope. Indeed, many people today make the same assumption. In fact, it was Hans Lippershey, a Flemish spectacle-maker, who patented the telescope in October 1608. Within a few months of Lippershey’s breakthrough, Galileo noted that ‘a rumour came to our ears that a spyglass had been made by a certain Dutchman’, and he immediately set about building his own telescopes. Galileo’s great accomplishment was to transform Lippershey’s rudimentary design into a truly remarkable instrument.
What We Cannot Know: Explorations at the Edge of Knowledge by Marcus Du Sautoy
Albert Michelson, Andrew Wiles, Antoine Gombaud: Chevalier de Méré, Arthur Eddington, banking crisis, bet made by Stephen Hawking and Kip Thorne, Black Swan, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, Dmitri Mendeleev, Edmond Halley, Edward Lorenz: Chaos theory, Ernest Rutherford, Georg Cantor, Hans Lippershey, Harvard Computers: women astronomers, Henri Poincaré, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Johannes Kepler, Magellanic Cloud, mandelbrot fractal, MITM: man-in-the-middle, Murray Gell-Mann, music of the spheres, Necker cube, Paul Erdős, Pierre-Simon Laplace, Richard Feynman, Skype, Slavoj Žižek, Solar eclipse in 1919, stem cell, Stephen Hawking, technological singularity, Thales of Miletus, Turing test, wikimedia commons
Although we don’t have a ship in which we can sail to the edges of the universe, scientists in the seventeenth century did come up with a cunning way to explore space: the telescope. HOW FAR CAN YOU SEE? It was Galileo’s generation that discovered you could enhance how far you can see by placing carved glass lenses in a tube. Indeed, for years Galileo himself seemed to get the credit for the invention of the telescope, but that accolade should go to the Dutch spectacle-maker Hans Lippershey, who filed a patent for an instrument ‘for seeing things far away as if they were nearby’. The Dutch instrument was able to magnify things by a factor of 3. Galileo heard about the instrument on a trip to Venice. That same night he figured out the principle on which it worked and was soon constructing instruments that could achieve a magnification of 33 times. The name ‘telescope’ was coined by a Greek poet who was attending a banquet to honour Galileo in 1611: in Greek tele means ‘far’ and skopein means ‘see’.
The Fabric of the Cosmos by Brian Greene
airport security, Albert Einstein, Albert Michelson, Arthur Eddington, Brownian motion, clockwork universe, conceptual framework, cosmic microwave background, cosmological constant, dark matter, dematerialisation, Hans Lippershey, Henri Poincaré, invisible hand, Isaac Newton, Murray Gell-Mann, Richard Feynman, Stephen Hawking, urban renewal
What’s more, because everything is subject to gravity (whereas, for example, the electromagnetic force only affects objects carrying an electric charge), everything has the capacity to generate gravitational waves and hence produce an observable signature. LIGO thereby marks a significant turning point in the way we examine the cosmos. There was a time when all we could do was raise our eyes and gaze skyward. In the seventeenth century, Hans Lippershey and Galileo Galilei changed that; with the aid of the telescope, the grand vista of the cosmos came within humanity’s purview. But in time, we realized that visible light represented a narrow band of electromagnetic waves. In the twentieth century, with the aid of infrared, radio, X-ray, and gamma ray telescopes, the cosmos opened up to us anew, revealing wonders invisible in the wavelengths of light that our eyes have evolved to see.
The Invention of Science: A New History of the Scientific Revolution by David Wootton
agricultural Revolution, Albert Einstein, British Empire, clockwork universe, Commentariolus, commoditize, conceptual framework, Dava Sobel, double entry bookkeeping, double helix, en.wikipedia.org, Ernest Rutherford, Fellow of the Royal Society, fudge factor, germ theory of disease, Google X / Alphabet X, Hans Lippershey, interchangeable parts, invention of gunpowder, invention of the steam engine, invention of the telescope, Isaac Newton, Jacques de Vaucanson, James Watt: steam engine, Johannes Kepler, John Harrison: Longitude, knowledge economy, lateral thinking, lone genius, Mercator projection, On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres, Philip Mirowski, placebo effect, QWERTY keyboard, Republic of Letters, social intelligence, spice trade, spinning jenny, the scientific method, Thomas Kuhn: the structure of scientific revolutions
Bruno was not necessarily right after all, although the new discovery certainly proved that Copernicus had been entitled to claim that the Earth could be a planet and at the same time have a moon going around it, which had seemed deeply implausible to the defenders of Ptolemy (for whom the moon was one of the planets) and of Brahe. § 2 The story of Galileo’s discoveries is, it seems, straightforward. In 1608 the telescope was invented in the Netherlands. It was a chance discovery made, perhaps, by Hans Lippershey, a spectacle maker (two other spectacle makers disputed Lippeshey’s priority claim). In 1609 Galileo, who had never seen a telescope, worked out how to make one.6 It had an obvious application in warfare, both on land and sea, and so he persuaded the Venetian government to reward him for his invention. They were somewhat irritated to discover within a few days that telescopes were becoming widely available and that Galileo had taken them for a ride.