10) PENICILIN (The First Miracle Drug) :: Everybody knows the story – or at least, should – the brilliant yet notoriously absent-minded biologist Sir Alexander Fleming was researching a strain of bacteria called staphylococci. One time in 1928, he noticed that one of the glass culture dishes he had accidentally left out had become contaminated with a fungus, and so threw it away. It wasn’t until later that he noticed that the staphylococcus bacteria seemed unable to grow in the area surrounding the fungal mould. Fleming didn’t even hold out much hope for his discovery: it wasn’t given much attention when he published his findings the following year, it was difficult to cultivate, and it was slow-acting – it wasn’t until 1945 after further research by several other scientists that penicillin was able to be produced on an industrial scale, changing the way doctors treated bacterial infections forever.
9) FINGERPRINT :: The discovery that fingerprints are unique to each individual, are left behind on objects a person touches and can be lifted off those items is nothing short of miraculous. This discovery completely changed the way that law enforcement conducted investigations. In today’s modern age, Jack the Ripper would eventually be caught. Even though it was 1823 when Jan Evangelista Purkinje noticed how unique our fingerprints are, it took some time for law enforcement to figure out ways to use this knowledge. Today, this discovery is used in everyday police work.
8) GUN POWDER :: In the recorded history, there is no clear mention of the people who discovered gunpowder. It is believed that Chinese alchemists, during a series of experiments ended up discovering a powder that that could change the nature of warfare and hunting forever. While the discovery of gunpowder almost certainly resulted in the death of millions over the past few decades, it has also helped the mankind to enter Space
7) VACCINATION :: Vaccination is perhaps one of the greatest and most amazing discoveries that changed the world forever largely because it has helped saving the lives of millions ever since it was tried as an experiment in 1796. Had it not been for the sustained efforts of Edward Jenner, many would have lost their lives even in their infancy to diseases like small pox. Jenner inoculated a young boy using matter from the cowpox lesions of a dairymaid and then introduced the smallpox virus to the boy but he was not infected. The word vaccination traces its origin to the Latin word ‘vacca’ meaning cow
6) WHEEL :: There is no record of how discovered the wheel. It was one of those discoveries that probably laid the foundation of human civilization! Without wheels, we could not have moved beyond few hundred kilometers. There would have been no exchange of knowledge, language, commodities etc. The discovery of the round object, which experienced the least amount of friction, was nothing short of a miracle or a boon for the mankind
5) GERM THEORY :: Louis Pasteur's germ theory served as a springboard for microbiology and immunology. Pasteur hypothesized that germs were the cause of contagious disease, and since then, we have learned that hand washing can prevent the spread of disease, as can covering coughs. Though we may take these precautions without thinking twice, failing to take these measures often resulted in serious illness and death before germ theory came along
4) OXYGEN :: Oxygen was first discovered by Swedish pharmacist Carl Wilhelm Scheele. He had discovered it by about 1772. Scheele called the gas “fire air” because it was the only known supporter of combustion, and wrote an account of this discovery in a manuscript he titled Treatise on Air and Fire, which he sent to his publisher in 1775. However, that document was not published until 1777. Meanwhille, oxygen was also identified by Joseph Priestly in 1774. Priestly discovered a colourless gas from heated red mercuric oxide. He found this gas was highly combustible. He called it dephlogisticated air. Priestly shared his discovery with the French scientist Antoine Lavoiser. Lavoiser was able to show oxygen supported animal life respiration.
3) ELECTRICITY :: If electricity makes life easier for us, you can thank Michael Faraday. He made two big discoveries that changed our lives. In 1821, he discovered that when a wire carrying an electric current is placed next to a single magnetic pole, the wire will rotate. This led to the development of the electric motor. Ten years later, he became the first person to produce an electric current by moving a wire through a magnetic field. Faraday’s experiment created the first generator, the forerunner of the huge generators that produce our electricity
2) THE EARTH IS ROUND :: So, yes, the earth isn’t flat. But seriously, would you ever have guessed that all by yourself? It’s not like people on the other side of the world are walking upside down. And no, Columbus didn’t discover this fact; he was too busy infesting the natives with smallpox. Duh! So how did this little smidgen of science know-how change the course of humankind? Because no longer did people think that their boats would fall off the edges of the ocean. This little fact created a tiny fissure in the assurity of humankind’s all-knowing senses and mastery of the world. Simply put, it made us look like a bunch of asses.
1) RELATIVITY :: Albert Einstein was famous for many things, but his greatest brainchild is the theory of relativity. It forever changed our understanding of space and time. It is the notion that the laws of physics are the same everywhere. We here on Earth obey the same laws of light and gravity as someone in a far off corner of the universe.
The universality of physics means that history is provincial. Different viewers will see the timing and spacing of events differently. What for us is a million years may just be a blink of an eye for someone flying in a high speed rocket or falling into a black hole.