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2 votes
1 answer
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How does the daguerrotype give directly a positive image?

I have already asked this question in the Chemistry community, but since daguerrotype is an old, obsolete technique, I hope this question can be considered as on-topic also here, to increase my ...
Alfred's user avatar
  • 202
2 votes
2 answers
143 views

What factors make a technology grow exponentially over time? (e.g., as in Moore's Law)

We all know Moore's Law, namely that computing power grows exponentially. The specific statement of Moore's Law had to do withe the doubling time (2 years) of the number of transistors in a ...
Hernan's user avatar
  • 121
2 votes
0 answers
59 views

Reconstruction of the details of Gauss-Weber "thermogalvanic chain"

In the physicist chapter of Gauss's bio on encyclopedia.com appears the following statement about Gauss-Weber's unpublished correspondence: Stimulated by Faraday’s discovery of induced current in ...
user2554's user avatar
  • 4,499
1 vote
1 answer
87 views

What's the history of the use of crude oil for transportation before the Industrial Revolution?

What's the history of the use of crude oil for transportation before the Industrial Revolution? Wiktionary says the Latin word petroleum, from petra (“rock”) + oleum (“oil”), is medieval Latin, so ...
Geremia's user avatar
  • 5,391
1 vote
0 answers
60 views

What was the last "hole" in the electromagnetic spectrum where amplified, tunable, narrow-band power couldn't be produced artificially?

We had radio amplifiers that could transmit powerful signals and those were pushed to microwaves. We had lasers that were originally natural transitions in solids and gasses but now tunable lasers go ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,207
3 votes
1 answer
135 views

How did the earliest measurements of lasers bounced off of Apollo 11 retroreflectors deal with the light from the Moon and pick out single photons?

Wikipedia's Lunar Laser Ranging Experiments; History mentions the first lasers ever bounced off the whole Moon were in 1962, and probably both the US and Soviet groups used Q-switched ruby lasers. In ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,207
3 votes
1 answer
77 views

What laser technology/ies were first used to bounce off of the Apollo 11 retroreflectors to accurately measure distance to the Moon?

Wikipedia's Lunar Laser Ranging Experiments; History mentions the first lasers ever bounced off the whole Moon were in 1962, and probably both the US and Soviet groups used Q-switched ruby lasers. In ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,207
1 vote
1 answer
70 views

What is the iodine fax process mentioned in Vannevar Bush's "As we may think"?

What is the iodine fax process mentioned in Vannevar Bush's "As we may think"? Another process now in use is also slow, and more or less clumsy. For fifty years impregnated papers have been ...
MaudPieTheRocktorate's user avatar
8 votes
3 answers
2k views

How were sailing warships maneuvered in battle -- who coordinated the actions of all the sailors?

I have wondered if the apparently complex arrangement of the sails of early 19th century vessels was reflective of a lack of understanding of the optimal arrangement of such sails (since modern ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,213
3 votes
1 answer
137 views

What original mathematics arose from Jacquard loom and similar weaving devices?

Research mathematics is seldom directly applicable, but the questions we study are motivated by interplay with contemporary demands. As a combinatorialist, it's apparent that my field has benefited ...
Zach H's user avatar
  • 131
2 votes
0 answers
88 views

Why were Cathode ray tubes first invented?

Cathode ray tubes have played a very important role in the development of physics around 1900. They have also served as a key component in old-fashioned TVs. This is great and all, but what was the ...
Maximal Ideal's user avatar
6 votes
0 answers
136 views

What technology was used to determine the shape of the blackbody spectrum at the 19th century?

The shape of the blackbody radiation spectrum was known in the 19th century from experimental measurements, and before the theoretical discovery of Planck's law. At those times, how did people manage ...
Solidification's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
44 views

Is there any indication throughout history that technological progression will end?

Bernard Stiegler argued that technics was a form of memory and was always progressing. Yet, philosophy isn’t the right thing to rely on when dealing with science. Science doesn’t have a mind and ...
Max's user avatar
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0 votes
2 answers
144 views

Which modern sciences/technologies were contingent on the Copernican Revolution, & which could have developed even while believing in geocentrism? [closed]

Suppose that, for whatever reason, neither Copernicus nor anyone else had discovered the heliocentric model, and cosmology remained stuck in the geocentric model. ("For whatever reason" ...
Ron's user avatar
  • 11
2 votes
0 answers
128 views

Did Newton ever use filtered or prism-dispersed colored light to view "Newton's rings" or other thin-film interference effects?

First please enjoy this wonderful answer to How did Newton explain his interference rings without wave optics? which describes the story behind what we now call Newton's rings. Below I show an example ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 2,207
0 votes
0 answers
88 views

Greek fire explosive I assume -- did an accident lead any inventor to consider using it as a propellant?

I would guess that occasionally pots of Greek fire did explode and if so, one would have seen how far shards were sent. Assuming this is true, did anyone suggest something like a cannon or a bomb ...
releseabe's user avatar
  • 1,213
32 votes
10 answers
15k views

How did people make things perfectly straight?

Constructing houses, telescopes, and most other important projects requires shaping pieces to precise size, at perfect right angles, or to have flat surfaces. People today have all kinds of ways of ...
Addem's user avatar
  • 511
1 vote
0 answers
114 views

When did telescopes become affordable?

There must have been a moment when most people had heard of telescopes, but they were only affordable by rich people or ship's captains. When did they first become affordable by the general public? ...
Brandon Shaw's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
155 views

When did the disciplinary distinction between art, science, and technology occur?

Often people talk of Leonardo da Vinci as an example of multi-disciplinary or inter-disciplinary successful approach towards the three fields - art, science and technology. This seems an uninformed ...
SAFI's user avatar
  • 343
9 votes
1 answer
315 views

"Nuclear fusion is 30 years away" since when?

It's a well-known, running joke (or criticism) in the fusion community that Fusion is always 30 years away. refering to the considerable difficulties that harnessing nuclear fusion as an energy ...
stafusa's user avatar
  • 305
2 votes
0 answers
114 views

Feynman's statement about the importance of basic science

I remember reading in the line that Feynman saying if the best technicians were tasked to build a radio they would make longer and thicker cables and transfer message but it took a physicist to ...
crossingsymmetry's user avatar
0 votes
0 answers
71 views

Mathematical analysis vs. Practical genius

Concerning the role of mathematics in technological inventions: which books would you suggest that examine the historical relation between mathematical analysis & practical wisdom? For example, ...
exp8j's user avatar
  • 217
1 vote
2 answers
92 views

Are there historical origins of "robotic" voices seen in earlier sci fi movies?

While today text to speech technology gets so advanced that synthetic voices come quite close to human ones, during my childhood I got quite inspired by "robotic" mechanical voices in ...
J. Doe's user avatar
  • 121
5 votes
0 answers
174 views

Why was Beaumont's steam engine not replicated for about 100 years?

Via a recent answer of mine, an ultimately wikipedia, I've learned that the first Steam Engine used to drain a mine was invented by Jeronimo Beamont, in 1606. He got a patent for it too. This was in ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 861
0 votes
3 answers
372 views

Does war speed up technological advancements and research?

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 ...
Xorsys's user avatar
  • 3
0 votes
0 answers
501 views

Why was there so much technological advancement in the 1980s?

I was born after the 1980s so I don't really know what it was like then. However, whenever I hear older folks reminisce about all the new and innovative technology that came out back then I have to ...
Andres Alvarez's user avatar
2 votes
0 answers
103 views

Study of path from science to technology

Much of the advertised reason for scientific research is that there is a trickle-down effect from science to technology. For instance, here is a quote by Enrico Fermi that I grabbed from Wikipedia. ...
user3558855's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
6k views

When was double-paned glass first invented and used for insulation?

Double-paned glass windows have a hollow space between two panes of glass, usually just filled with air. This can make a much better insulator than normal glass, according to Engineering Toolbox. I ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 861
-1 votes
1 answer
160 views

How did crude oil pipelines work before WW2?

Before World War Two, how did pipelines work for crude oil? What kind of metal or plastic were they made out of? What kind of sensors and monitoring did they need? Did they have "pigs" that travel up ...
DrZ214's user avatar
  • 861
7 votes
1 answer
356 views

How did people realize they could do logic with electronics?

How did people realize they could do logic with electronics? Are there anecdotes of the first realizations? I'm wondering about the first "eureka" moments.
user avatar
3 votes
1 answer
3k views

Did the Soviet Union have their own discoveries in the development of semiconductors and the semiconductor industry?

After the Second World War Russia had a vastly larger number of students being trained in their universities compared to the United States around the time of the International Geophysical Year in 1957....
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
4 votes
0 answers
147 views

During the development of QFT was this theory actually used to build any invention like the MRI?

I have always wondered if the equations of quantum field theory were actually ever used in the production of some invention or device other than needed to make predictions about the Standard Model of ...
Sedumjoy's user avatar
  • 1,223
1 vote
1 answer
102 views

How much had the rise of drones been connected with the study of birds?

I've read in "How do they fly" by Rudolf Dvořák that the main constraint from inventing some kind of remote-controlled flying machine that could go all directions was the lack of theoretical ...
Probably's user avatar
  • 139
1 vote
0 answers
44 views

What enabled the spread of virtual reality systems?

What new technology enabled us to construct VR recently? Was it just the resolution which makes believable image?
Probably's user avatar
  • 139
5 votes
2 answers
224 views

Why were the first steam engines “atmospheric engines”

Anybody who has boiled water knows that a positive pressure builds up when steam is produced. Indeed the first conceptual design of a steam engine (the Aeolipile) was a "positive pressure" engine. The ...
Miguel's user avatar
  • 51
5 votes
0 answers
102 views

Why were light bulbs traditionally marketed based on power consumption rather than light output?

Historically, incandestent light bulbs were marketed primarily by their power consumption in watt. I don't know if light output in lumen was specified at all. I'm not aware of any other electrical ...
gerrit's user avatar
  • 213
1 vote
0 answers
148 views

How many computers are there?

There are about 7.13 billion humans alive today. When installing Java, it says that 3 billion devices run Java. The question is, out of how many? How many computing devices that have enough ...
WBT's user avatar
  • 231
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

How did artillery and physics co-evolve during 1400-1700?

Artillery was established in Europe around the year 1400. But physics, the mathematical and systematical description of how objects fall, the foundation of engine construction, didn't dawn until about ...
LocalFluff's user avatar
5 votes
2 answers
757 views

When was the diving bell invented?

This question comes from my attempts to give a good answer to the previous question, How was difference in water pressure perceived in ancient cultures or the middle ages? I know from my childhood ...
Alexandre Eremenko's user avatar
13 votes
2 answers
4k views

When was the cogwheel gear invented?

Can someone tell me what year was the cogwheel gear invented? I tried searching it up but the answers were too complicated.
user573's user avatar
  • 131