Introduction technology - Essay Example

How would you go from one city to the next? Could you get on a train or would you have to walk or ride a horse? How would you send a message to your mom telling her you’ll be late for dinner? Can you email her or call her on your cell phone? How would you get your clothes? Can you shop at a 14th century mall, or on the internet? And what would your clothes be made of? Level I Do you think you could find pink spandex shorts or would they have to be made of brown cotton? Think for a moment how different everything would be if you were to live in the 14th century.

Many of the items you use today are a result of technology. Your cell phone, microwave oven, washing machine, and plastic cup are all the result of scientific discoveries combined with engineering that have allow people to invent products that have improved the way people live. Technological advances have improved our health, the food we eat, the clothes we wear, how we travel, and how we communicate with one another. There are a few drawbacks to some aspects of technology (such as pollution) but overall technology has greatly improved many aspects of living for most people.

The word technology comes from the Greek words techno which means “craft” and logy which means “scientific study of. ” So technology means the “scientific study of craft. ” Craft in this case, means any method or invention that allow humans to control or adapt to their environment. 1. 2 Archimedes: The first inventor How did technology get started? Inventions and tool making have been around for as long as mankind have walked the earth. But modern technology began once scientific thought (philosophy), astronomy, and mathematics began to blend together sometime after the 1 5th century. The first inventor who combined engineering with science was Archimedes of Syracuse (287 B. C. -212 B. C. ). He is credited with inventing the Archimedes screw for raising water, which is still used in Egypt. He is also credited with inventing the cross-staff for use in astronomy, and the odometer which measures how far someone has traveled. The most famous story about Archimedes is when he was told by the king to find out if the kings crown was made of solid gold. He had to fugue out a way to test if the kings crown was made of gold without melting it.

This was a puzzle for Archimedes. It is said that one day he noticed that his body would displace the bath water. Seeing this he realized he could use the displacement of water as a way to measure the crown’s volume (and thus its density upon weighing it). The story goes that at this point Archimedes jumped out of the tub and ran through the streets naked shouting “Eureka I have found it! ” No one is certain if the story is true, but it does give you an idea how exciting new discoveries in technology can be! 1. How science shapes technology Before formal scientific disciplines, such as chemistry, physics, astronomy and biology were defined, many early inventors simply experimented with items around them trying to come up with ways to improve their lives. Inventions and discoveries often happen by accident. Glass, for example, is said to have been discovered by Phoenician sailors in 4000 BC. The story goes that while cooking their pots on nitrate blocks the blocks were melted by the fire and mixed with the sand below creating a crude glass.

No one could have guessed at the time, but these sailors helped pave the way for Galileo and others to use telescopes for observing the stars. The earliest star gazers had no way to see beyond what they could observe in the sky with their own eyes. However, for these early dermatomes, the technology for seeing beyond our solar system and galaxy did not yet exist. In the early sass Galileo Galilee observed the heavens through the first telescope. It took both the scientific idea that glass could magnify far away objects, and the craft of glass making for the first telescope to be invented.

Improvements in how far a telescope could magnify were accelerated by Sir Isaac Newton’s ideas for using a curved mirror rather than glass for the lens. Because Newton understood the science of light called optics, he was able to add to the technological advance of the telescope. 5 6 Science shapes technology and without understanding of basic scientific principles and the gathering of new scientific facts, technological advances in all areas would be impossible. 1. 4 How technology shapes science Looking at it from the other end, how does technology shape science?

Going back to Galileo and Newton, how do you think the telescope has changed our understanding of not only our own solar system, but of the whole universe? The telescope ushered in a new and fascinating scientific discipline that we now call astronomy. Astronomy is the scientific study of the planets, stars, and other objects in the universe. Before the telescope no one had ever observed a nebula, for example, and no one knew how many planets were in our solar system. Without the technology of the telescope, much of what we have discovered about the universe would still be unknown.

The telescope also opened up many ideas and changed the way people thought about cosmology. Cosmology is the study of the universe. It would be very difficult to study the universe if we had no way to look beyond our own planet. The technology of the telescope brought modern cosmology into the arena of serious scientific study. The telescope enabled scientists to measure, predict, and quantify many features of the universe. By applying mathematics to careful observations generated by the use of telescope, scientists changed the way people thought about the universe and themselves. 1.

Think about a piece of technology you use today such as a cell phone or television. List all of the materials that make the item (I. E. Plastic, metal what kind? ), glass etc. ). 2. Now think about one of those materials and try to answer the following questions. Use library or internet resources to research the answers. A) How is it made? 7 8 b) Where is it made? C) Who designed it? 3. Think about the process for designing and making the material. A) Which scientific disciplines went into this process? B) Explain how chemistry or physics helped in creating the piece of technology you described. 10 Small-scale science 1. 1 “Seeing” Atoms 1. 2 Scanning tunneling microscopes 1. 3 Atomic force microscope 1. 4 Nanotechnology 1. 5 Activity Chapter 1 1 1. 1 “Seeing” atoms How small are atoms? Atoms are too small to even picture! The cells that make up living things are small, but even the smallest living cell is made up of billions of atoms! If atoms are so small, how can we be sure they exist? For a long time, the answer to that question was, “Well, we have lots of experimental evidence that makes it seem that atoms exist, but we can’t really see atoms because they are Just too small! However, in the sass’s a new microscope technology was invented. This new device was called a scanning tunneling microscope, or STEM. An STEM makes it possible to see” atoms. 12 1. 2 Scanning tunneling microscope A scanning tunneling microscope is not a typical microscope. It does not work with light or lenses, and you don’t look through it. In fact, when using an STEM, you do not actually “see” the atoms, at least, to in the n way that you are looking at this page in front of you.

An STEM works by “scanning” the surface of an object, and then projecting an image of the surface on a computer monitor or other screen. The STEM has a metal probe called a stylus that actually does the scanning. The stylus is extremely sharp; it comes too point that is only one atom wide! This stylus moves very close to the surface of the object being scanned. The gap between the tip of the stylus and the object is the only about as wide as an atom, or even closer. 13 The STEM works by passing the stylus back and forth over the surface of the object being scanned. The moving stylus is computer-controlled.

Human beings are not precise enough to keep the stylus the right distance away from the scanning surface. As the stylus moves, it “picks up” electrons from the surface of the object. The electrons show where the atoms in the object are placed. The signals created by these electrons are strengthened and then projected on to the monitor to create an image. An STEM can produce amazing images of a surface, but it has another amazing function. An STEM can be used to “grab” individual atoms! The computer controlling the STEM can then arrange the atoms into specific locations.

In 1990, researchers at IBM used an STEM to grab individual xenon atoms. It took over 20 hours, but they were able to arrange 35 atoms into the letters “l”, “B”, “M” to make the smallest company logo ever. 14 Since then, researchers have been working on ways to move atoms around more quickly. They are discovering ways to make incredibly tiny structures, one atom at a time. 1. 3 Atomic force microscope One of the drawbacks to the early scanning tunneling microscopes was that they could only be used to scan objects that conduct electricity easily, like metals.

Therefore, they could not be used to create images of many substances, such as plastics or living tissues, which are not conductors of electricity. In the years since Stem’s were invented, several other types of probe microscopes have been developed. They work in slightly different ways, but the basic principal remains similar; the gyroscope allows scientists to get an extremely close-up image of the object. One type is called an Atomic Force Microscope, or FM. An FM can scan many different types of surface, including metals and nonmetals.

FM image of DNA 15 Like and STEM, an FM have a very short tip. But stead of picking up electrons, like an STEM, an FM can “see” atoms Just by bumping into them (that is, by measuring the force between an atom and the tip). Since everything is made of atoms, an FM can see all kinds of things, not Just conductors. The science of designing and working with extremely small things is allied nanotechnology. The “Anna” in nanotechnology means nanometer and so nanotechnology means building things that are manometers in size.

A nanometer is one billionth of a meter; that is, it takes one billion manometers to equal one meter. Remember that scientists use the metric system to measure things. A meter is the standard metric unit for length. One thousandth of a meter is called a millimeter. One millimeter is about as wide as the line you would draw with a sharp pencil. A nanometer is a much smaller unit. One millimeter is equal to one million manometers! An atom is less than a nanometer across, so it takes a device like an STEM or FM to even think about picking up individual atoms.

Some nanotechnology researchers are developing new ways of using various types of Stems and Fame to work at these incredibly small sizes. Biologists can use a special type of FM to look at proteins and other compounds one molecule at a time. Computer makers can produce super-miniature computer circuits. Medical researchers can 16 examine how a particular medicine affects specific cells. Chemists and materials scientists are using nanotechnology techniques to develop completely new absences that have never been made before.