Humanities and developments in a technology Assignments | Custom Assignments Help
Trace developments in a technological field of your choice. Show how these innovations built on each other, citing some of the inventors whose contributions won them deserved or undeserved fame and fortune or, alternately, went unrewarded. Consider not just the technical progress in the field you choose, but also the social implications such innovations have wrought.
Here are some suggestions of fields you might examine:
You could concentrate on agricultural innovations, including the invention and refinement of the plow, the spread of crops and domesticated animals from the Fertile Crescent, three-field farming and the enclosure movement, the “Columbian Exchange” of plants and animals between the hemispheres, chemical fertilizers, and the development of technologies to process, preserve, and distribute food and fiber. Don’t ignore the plight of and prospects for those who have tilled the soil, butchered the meat, and planted and picked crops ranging from cotton to the fruits and vegetables we consume today.
If you focus on transportation, you could describe 19th century turnpike construction, canal digging, steamboat and ship building, ballooning, bicycling, and/or railroad track laying, with 20th and 21st century innovations in internal combustion and electric automobiles, aviation, and rocketry.
You could choose to explore energy production, starting with human or animal power; the discovery of fire; the water mill; steam generation using charcoal, coal, coke, or petroleum; the electric motor and hydroelectric turbines; chemical batteries; nuclear energy; and renewables such as wind and solar power.
Communications breakthroughs, from the telegraph, telephone, wireless telegraphy, the phonograph and motion picture, radio and television, to the smart phones most of you could not live without, could be a tempting topic.
Artificial lighting, from oil lamps in caves, to limelight, arc lighting, whale oil or kerosene lamps, and incandescent bulbs, CFLs, and LEDs, could be another area to explore, with alternate ways of producing or distributing electrical power possibly considered as well.
Another worthy focus would be industrial efficiency, including the use of water and steam power in factories or mines, standardized parts, stationary or moving assembly lines, time and motion studies, and robotics. Don’t fail to consider the effects on workers, including their efforts to organize unions, these developments caused.
Production of textile goods could be a focus, including hand spinning and weaving in cottage industries; the innovations of Kay, Arkwright, and Slater; the New Lanark and Lowell experiment; and outsourcing of textile jobs to third world countries. Working conditions, citing Luddite protests, unionization efforts, and muckraking accounts of factory conditions, would be an appropriate consideration.
Advances in weaponry, from gunpowder, the long- and crossbow, the harquebus, musket and rifle, handgun, cannon, machine gun, and even Tesla’s proposed “death ray”, armored ships and tanks, submarines, warplanes and aircraft carriers, to the ultimate destructive power of atomic devices, could be considered.
The importance of keeping time, from monks’ water clocks, which told them (roughly) when to pray, to the atomic clocks that measure millionths of seconds, could be described. Intermediate steps – pendulum and mainspring clocks, pocket and quartz watches, and the creation of time zones and DST – might be examined.
The digital revolution, beginning with mechanical devices and progressing through binary calculators and miniaturization on an atomic or quantum scale, is an obvious and highly relevant topic you could explore. The implications of Facebook, YouTube, and other social media in keeping informed and/or inundating us with distractions and “fake news” might also be a focus.
This is not an exhaustive or exclusive list of the technological areas you could choose to explore, but whatever your focus, I remind you to support your essay with specific examples!
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