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Portal:Technology

The Technology Portal

A steam turbine with the case opened. Such turbines produce most of the electricity used today. Electricity consumption and living standards are highly correlated. Electrification is believed to be the most important engineering achievement of the 20th century.

Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia) is the collection of techniques, skills, methods, and processes used in the production of goods or services or in the accomplishment of objectives, such as scientific investigation. Technology can be the knowledge of techniques, processes, and the like, or it can be embedded in machines to allow for operation without detailed knowledge of their workings.

The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.

Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth's environment. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions of the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.

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Discovery Expedition
The Discovery Expedition of 1901–1904 was the first official British exploration of the Antarctic regions since James Clark Ross's voyage sixty years earlier. Organised on a large scale under a joint committee of the Royal Society and the Royal Geographical Society, the new expedition aimed to carry out scientific research and geographical exploration in what was then largely an untouched continent. It launched the Antarctic careers of many who would become leading figures in the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration including Robert Falcon Scott who led the expedition, Ernest Shackleton, Edward Wilson, Frank Wild, Tom Crean and William Lashly. Its scientific results covered extensive ground in biology, zoology, geology, meteorology and magnetism. There were important geological and zoological discoveries, including those of the snow-free McMurdo Dry Valleys and the Cape Crozier Emperor Penguin colony. In the field of geographical exploration, achievements included the discoveries of King Edward VII Land, and the Polar Plateau via the western mountains route. The expedition did not, however, make a serious attempt on the South Pole, its principal southern journey reaching a Furthest South at 82°17'S. As a trailbreaker for later ventures, the Discovery Expedition was a landmark in British Antarctic exploration history.


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Johannes Kepler
Johannes Kepler was a German Lutheran mathematician, astronomer and astrologer, and a key figure in the 17th century astronomical revolution. He is best known for his eponymous laws of planetary motion, codified by later astronomers based on his works Astronomia nova, Harmonices Mundi, and Epitome of Copernican Astronomy. Before Kepler, planets' paths were computed by combinations of the circular motions of the celestial orbs. After Kepler, astronomers shifted their attention from orbs to orbits—paths that could be represented mathematically as an ellipse. Kepler's laws also provided one of the foundations for Isaac Newton's theory of universal gravitation. During his career Kepler was a mathematics teacher at a Graz seminary school, an assistant to Tycho Brahe, the court mathematician to Emperor Rudolf II, a mathematics teacher in Linz, Austria, and an adviser to General Wallenstein. He also did fundamental work in the field of optics and helped to legitimize the telescopic discoveries of his contemporary Galileo Galilei.


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Nikola Tesla
Nikola Tesla, "The Transmission of Electrical Energy Without Wires as a Means for Furthering Peace" (1905)


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Dampfturbine Laeufer01.jpg
Credit: Siemens Pressebild

A steam turbine is a device that extracts thermal energy from pressurized steam and uses it to do mechanical work on a rotating output shaft.


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