In the twentieth century technology has advanced at a breath taking pace. At the turn of the century, Wilbur and Orville Wright became the first men to fly a heavier-than-air machine. Through their efforts the first practical airplane was made possible. The field of aviation grew fast and after the invention of the jet engine, men could fly faster that the speed of sound.
Henry Ford Motor Company, USA introduced a new concept in the field of manufacturing called assembly line manufacturing. Car would be made by moving it down the assembly line where it’s different pars along the assembly line. This method of production was faster and became popular with other equipment manufactures also.
During this century man has taken great strides in his war against diseases. Advance sing science have facilitated the discovery of new medicines and opened up the field of biomedical engineering. It has become easy to diagnose the root causes of some diseases. With the help of surgery it is now possible to correct the malfunctioning of some organs. All this has led to the increase in longevity and decrease in premature deaths. People no longer fear dreaded diseases such as plague, cholera. Pox and tuberculosis which used to erupt in epidemic proportions.
Devices for the conduction of electricity in vacuum, a gas or a semiconductor were developed during this century. This resulted in the birth of an important technology called electronics. In the beginning electronic valves were developed which were used to make radios, TV, computers, radars and a number of other devices. The early valve-based devices were bulky and consumed a lot of power. Later on, another electronic device called transistor was invented. This device allowed electronic equipment to be made much smelled. The power requirement of a transistorized device was much less than that of valves. Transistors led to the amazing technology of integrated circuits (ICs) or “chips”. An IC is very small and contains an entire electronic circuit made of millions of transistors. ICs allowed electronic gadgets to become even smaller. They led to a new breed of computers called personal computers or PCs.
Advances in technology have completely transformed the field of communication. Before the invention of printing press, each book had to be hand-written. The printing press was developed in 1448 in Germany. This helped in spreading the printed word. Nowadays fast printing machines produce thousands of books, newspapers and magazines. With the discovery of telegraph people could communicate with each other using codes almost instantaneously. With the arrival the telephone and the radio we were able to communicate verbally. Before the discovery of radio waves, messages could be received only as fast as the messenger could move. A radio wave can go round the earth seven times in one second. So, in effect, our messages are received immediately.
Television made transmission of pictures possible. Other developments in this field include the fax machine which allows us to transmit printed matter. During the twentieth century scientific knowledge and technology have advanced at an astonishing rate. Space flight is a reality and we have at our disposal the immense power of the atom. Some important discoveries and inventions are listed. Rapid technological advances have been made during this period which can be called the period of the second industrial Revolution.