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I've heard of Nazi Germany developing many a technology that we still use today and that communications technology such as the telegraph came about due to wartime needs. I was wondering to what extent war speeds up research and technological advancements and why we do not achieve such speeds during times of peace.

I also would like to know some technology we use in our every day life that came about due to war.

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  • $\begingroup$ I like the question in your text, but not the question in your title. (For the title question: sometimes yes, sometimes no.) $\endgroup$ – Gerald Edgar Mar 30 '18 at 12:20
  • $\begingroup$ See my answer on this question: mathoverflow.net/questions/288662/… $\endgroup$ – Alexandre Eremenko Mar 30 '18 at 13:29
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    $\begingroup$ We do see this in peacetime as well, once in a while. For instance during the space race. The important accelerating factor may not be war in itself but rather competition. And war is basically just a big competition $\endgroup$ – Steeven Apr 11 '18 at 12:23
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Not only war but preparations to war, military-related research had very large influence on the development of science and technology. Of the recent examples I mention GPS, Internet, space exploration, not even speaking of nuclear energy. GPS and satellite navigation in general were originally developed for military purposes, and most importantly the research was financed by the military. Internet was developed by US military as a communication system which could withstand nuclear attack. Space exploration is a byproduct of the development of ballistic missiles.

As Gerald Edgar wrote, digital electronic computers were developed during WWII, but coding/decoding was not the only purpose. Other purposes were the nuclear bomb project, which involved enormous amount of computation, and the devices for control of anti-aircraft guns.

One can give very many examples from earlier history, beginning with Hellenistic Greece. (Tyrants of Syracuse employed people like Archimedes not because of their love of science: the main reason was their desire to develop advanced military technology).

Military considerations also have large influence on development of science education. Think of the French Grand Ecoles founded by Napoleon, or of a huge boost in American science education after the launch of the first Soviet satellite.

One can conclude that military considerations is one of the MAIN driving forces of development of applied science and technology.

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In physics, the four most important developments had nothing to with war or the preparation of war: Newtons calculus and his theory of gravitation, Maxwells equations, Einsteins theory of special and general relativity, Heisenbergs Matrix Mechanics in QM.

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It has heen argued that the development of electronic computers was speeded up by code-breaking efforts in World War II.

colossus
LINK

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  • $\begingroup$ Oh Alan Turing right? $\endgroup$ – Xorsys Mar 30 '18 at 12:26

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