• Question: What's the coolest invention, in your opinion?

    Asked by Anon to Tim, Wallace, Steve, Sarah, Peter, Paul, Mousumi, Mina, Linda, Fi, Danielle, Benjamin, Ben, Andy on 22 Dec 2014. This question was also asked by pl123456789, sonnyfraser123.
    • Photo: Andy Hearn

      Andy Hearn answered on 22 Dec 2014:


      It has to be this:

      Slight joking aside, I’m going to give a very boring answer:
      The coolest invention would have to be the wheel!

      Yeah, the wheel is “so obvious” to us everywhere in the world today. But back then it was totally different to anything else before it, and it changed the way people lived – they could then move more stuff over greater distances quicker (finally!)…

      Imagine what would your reaction have been if you were the one who put together the first wheelbarrow-type thing, and what about the reactions of other people in your tribe? They’d be looking at it like it is the most wow-est thing they’ve ever seen!

    • Photo: Peter Green

      Peter Green answered on 23 Dec 2014:


      This is a difficult question to answer as what was cool when it was invented can very soon become commonplace and taken for granted.

      In my opinion the greatest invention (if you can call it that) was probably the ‘book’. Until 30 years ago books were our only effective method for recording and communicating knowledge.

      If we don’t consider books to have been invented, then I have two nominations for the coolest invention: wireless communications and the computer.

      The invention of wireless communication made it possible to send messages anywhere in the World at the speed of light. In fact, wireless communication is not limited to this World; the Voyager 1 spacecraft is communicating with NASA over a distance of 19,500,000,000 km!

      The invention of the computer has revolutionized all of our lives – with computers being built into everything from the humble TV remote control to the mobile phone on which you may be reading this answer. You can judge the scale of the impact of the computer when you find that in just one year (2013) approximately 17,000,000,000 computing devices were built into products.

    • Photo: Steve Cox

      Steve Cox answered on 31 Dec 2014:


      For me at the moment it’s 3D printing. Like all of the best inventions it’s actually quite a simple idea but it can do so many things.

      The medical profession has really seen the benefits that 3D printing has to offer, and I’m pleased to say that it’s actually playing a part in improving people’s lives.

    • Photo: Wallace Viguier

      Wallace Viguier answered on 4 Jan 2015:


      I am always amazed at the impact of inventions on civilisations. In the past the invention of fire /writing / wheel / science /allowed us to switch from surviving in an unknown environment to living longer in a space that we understand everyday a bit more.

      As for the recent years, I guess the Internet as to be the coolest of the cools. Because it permits to humans to understand each other a bit better through the sharing of all knowledge and information in real time. It has been invented about 30 years ago and yet it affect each of us more and more as the years pass.

    • Photo: Fiona Dickinson

      Fiona Dickinson answered on 5 Jan 2015:


      My most important invention is strongly linked to what has come before, and that is the printing press, brought to Europe by Gutenberg I think (yep Johannes Gutenberg according to google :)). Previously books had been laboriously hand copied, and whilst beautiful, were not for the masses. The printing press allowed large scale copying for the first time, to this day all important scientific (or indeed any academic) research is printed on paper. Imagine a world with no books, no leaflets, no labels on food in shops or on anything we buy, it is not conceivable.

      But what do I think is the coolest, the thing that to me is as magical as the day it was invented.. the optical prism, something that takes white light and splits it into a rainbow of colour, it is beautiful, through the idea that you can split up light we are able to know so much about the chemical nature of ‘stuff’ what atoms are there, how are they bonded, it is a wonderful thing and so incredibly beautiful.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prism

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