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Thread: What was the greatest tech development between agriculture and industrialisation?

  1. #31
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    Oct 2011
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    Lot's of excellent answers above, including the point that there is "no greatest."

    When I think of technology, I think of engineering (I'm a civil engineer). I know technology is much broader than just engineering, but that's how I think about it. So, in this context, I think the application of mathematics to engineering and the gradual movement away from empirical methods was a very important development in human history and the development of technology.* In some cases, the ancients applied some algebra and trig to engineering and related fields, but the explosion in the engineering side of technology probably originated with development of the calculus. Calculus is an integral part (pun intended) of every engineering curriculum because calculus is the core of many of the subjects in the curriculum. For example, all the algebraic equations in my beam tables for structural design were derived through calculus: shear is the first derivative of the bending moment, deflection is the second derivative, and rotation is the third derivative.**

    On the other hand, if it's not the application of mathematics to engineering, then maybe it was the invention of squeeze cheese. :-)

    * Some empirical methods (e.g. in hydraulics and hydrology) will probably never go away because of their utility and reasonable backing with lab testing and quantified real world experience.
    ** My notes are at the office and this sequence isn't actually important to me on a day-to-day basis, first because I use the algebraic forms and second because I don't do much structural design.
    Last edited by skysurfer5cva; 2020-Jul-24 at 01:08 AM.

  2. #32
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    5,623
    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    Why all the focus on 1400? The OP question covers a much broader timeline, and yet there's been a focus on "recent" history, and inventions built on the backs of earlier and much more well-established technologies that enabled them.

    How do we define and determine "greatness"?
    The reason I focused on that population increase is because it's a quantifiable means to determine human improvement. More people means more children surviving to adulthood, more people living to old age, more people with access to nutrition.
    "Occam" is the name of the alien race that will enslave us all eventually. And they've got razors for hands. I don't know if that's true but it seems like the simplest answer."

    Stephen Colbert.

  3. #33
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
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    11,874
    Quote Originally Posted by Noclevername View Post
    "You do the Hokey Pokey, and you turn yourself around..."
    Wat Tylerís daughter was just the pill...I think they called that the Lollard.

  4. #34
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    Jun 2003
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    8,727
    Between 1450 and 1750 the rigid medieval hierarchy seems to have been replaced with a much more open mercantile culture. That's the period when the exploration of the New World started, and people started to make money from international trade rather than military adventures.

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