This special edition of BBC History Magazine introduces the men and women whose ideas and innovations shape our world today.
Calculus, chemical elements, aeronautical engineering, planetary motion, metallurgy, computing, quarks and bosons – to the layperson, the evolution of such complex concepts and technology can set the head spinning. But it’s not rocket science (except, of course, rocket science). The story of science and technology is, like all history, a narrative dominated by people, not just atoms and equations.
We meet Greek and Roman philosophers, mathematicians and engineers who pioneered geometry, physics and geography – as well as gadgets ranging from automated statues to astronomical computers. And we explore the lives and work of scientists who became household names – Plato and Newton, Galileo and Einstein.
We also celebrate the inventors and developers of technologies that transformed the world, from Gutenberg’s printing press to Stephenson’s steam locomotives, and from Ptolemy’s maps to Ada Lovelace’s insights into computing. And we highlight the crucial contribution of less well-known scientists and researches. Did you know that the discovery of the DNA double-helix hinged on the work of Rosalind Franklin? That of radio and microwaves? Or that Jocelyn Bell discovered pulsars?
The Story of Science and Technology complies and updates articles that have appeared previously in BBC History Magazine, along with several new articles written specially for this edition. I hope you enjoy it.