Learn about life-altering inventions, breath-taking discoveries and amazing explorations from all across the world.
Born in Pisa, Italy, in 1564, this former college drop-out once considered becoming a monk and funnily enough (or maybe not so funny), he spent the last years of his life under house arrest due to having angered the Catholic church by supporting scientific rather than biblical theories. Galileo became a master of astronomy, physics, engineering, natural philosophy & mathematics.
Dutch lens-grinder and optician Hans Lippershey in 1609, decided to play around with different sizes of lenses inside a tube, adding them at a distance to each other and see what they would do. And, there you have it, the first variation of the "The Dutch Perspective Glass", i.e. the telescope was invented. The telescope has since been developed into a truly astounding piece of scientific technology.
Like father like daughters...Skibereen-born Agnes and her older sister Ellen, both home schooled by intellectual and well to do parents who, as it happens owned a telescope, became obsessed with mathematics and astronomy from an early age. Agnes pursued her passion the furthest and made such an impact in the celestial field that she even has a crater named after her, the Clerke Crater.
A hyperactive pupil with very bad hearing, Thomas Alva Edison wasn't a great fit for the classroom and therefore had to be home-schooled by his mother. He was fascinated with anything to do with electricity and inventing, and funded his basement experiments at the age of 12 by selling sweets and newspapers to rail passengers.
Born into a very modest family with 16 siblings, Benjamin, although with barely any education, was very entrepreneurial and inventive. At a young age, he started a printing business and became very wealthy and influential. His thirst for knowledge was unquenchable, so much so that he risked his life many times over in the quest of getting to grips with the immensely dangerous power of electricity!
As an Irish physician specializing in neo-natal issues and premature baby care, Robert Collis pioneered the technique for feeding newborns through a tube rather than with a spoon, therefore increasing the possibility of survival immensely. His voluntary work for the Red Cross in WWII extermination camp Bergen-Belsen changed his life forever more.
Stemming from the deep, dark forests of Smaland in Sweden, Carl Linnaeus, later ennobled Carl Von Linné, was a man with a strong desire for adventure and love for nature running through his veins. Together with his assistants, he travelled the world and systematically organized all animals and plants into their categories according to their family, genus, species and so on.
Rosalind, a young woman born into a well to do family, who sadly passed away from cancer far too soon, showed signs of great intellect already at a very young age. She studied viruses, coal and graphite, and was the British chemist who discovered the intriguing and all-revealing twisted structure of what we today call DNA (DeoxyriboNucleic Acid).
Imagine the ability, as if by magic, to collect the entire history of a species, individual animal or the memories of the pasture where they graze, simply by swiping a device and evaluate the DNA results. A collaboration between WWF and SPYGEN has made this possible and it's revolutionary, extraordinary and very, very exciting indeed.
Theodore was introduced to the fascinating powers of electricity at a very young age by his father, who worked as an electrical engineer and inventor at Bell Labs. At the tender age of 12, he was already skilled enough to be given a job fixing valve devices, and once he had finished his education, began his quest for inventing Laser, using ruby and silver components.
As with many life-altering inventions they often happened as a side-line of another invention, and, the 3D Printer came to in that very same way. In a tiny lab on his days off and on weekends, Chuck was working on developing a tougher coating for worktops, playing around with plastic-y gloop, and, one day something truly incredible happened...
As soon as Bradford finished his education at the age of 22, he joined the US Air Force as a pilot, engineer and subsequently inventor, leading many revolutionary projects and developments to flourishion. His discoveries have certainly made our lives a lot more easier to manage, not least through the GPS system in our cars but also in aeronautics, agriculture and technology.
"Always inventing, inventing, inventing", it was said about John McCarthy, the founding father of AI- Artificial Intelligence-who believed that machines could have intelligence and human behaviors applied to them so as to make them more useful to us using four types of systems: Reactive Machines, Limited Memory, Theory Of Mind & Self-Awareness.
Born by Scottish and Dutch parents, this US Navy Rear Admiral, professor of mathematics and revolutionary computer programmer, Grace Hopper, was once refused entry to university, because she had trouble learning Latin... As a young child, she was so inquisitive that she, to her mother's despair, dismantled not one, not two but EIGHT alarm clocks to find out how they worked.
"It's important to give" was Narinder's motto, and as an established inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist, he lived by his word. Without his invention of utilizing fiber optics, you wouldn't have been able to read this, as the internet is completely reliable on the seamless transaction of data and directives through it. Thank you, Narinder!
Out of the 6809 languages we have in the world today, not only is Tamil recognized as the oldest language, but, it is also spoken by an awful lot of people, over 100 million in fact... Being of the Dravidian language family, Tamil developed and took root over 5000 years ago in India and Sri Lanka, spreading across Asia to Singapore and Malaysia too.
Sometimes when life hands you lemons, you simply have to learn how to make lemonade with what you've been given! Having arrived in ancient Greece by ship from Africa as a slave, Aesop with his deep understanding of the human psyche and wish to teach the world of better ways to live whilst improving his own, became a master storyteller who created thousands of educational and captivating tales.
Johannes, by profession goldsmith, was relentlessly entrepreneurial, inquisitive and he was not one to pass up an opportunity to make money come what may. So much so that he, midlife, had to change his name to escape angry debt collectors due to a failed religious scamming project, forcing him to hide and completely start over...oops! But, this all led to his revolutionary and life altering invention: the printing press.
As an established and respected artist one wouldn't blame Samuel Morse if he had chosen to not do much else in life than paint, but, personal tragedy led to him discovering other parts of his creativity. As the news of his dear wife's illness reached him after days by horse back from far away, not only had she passed away once he reached her, but she was buried too. His deep grief propelled him to develop a faster way of reliable communicational language.
Enthusiastic cinema goer and cinematographer Morton Heilig felt that there had to be more to it than simply watching a movie whilst seated in your cinema seat. He yearned to create a way of really and truly being able to immerse yourself in the experience. To be "in it" so to speak. His development of an immersive sphere (3D) and his visual invention the "Sensorama" marked the exciting beginning of Virtual Reality (VR).
Extended Reality (XR) is a very far-reaching, inclusive and flexible term of the possibility for us humans to explore the digital world in an as immersive way as possible. It strives to create an experience which allows us to use all of our senses to the fullest and through this, enrich our lives, work, connections and communications.
Sons of a father who, due to being a bishop was often forced to uproot his family, Wilbur and Orville learned early on to amuse themselves and forged a creative bond which proved to be vital to the comforts of the world we live in today. Fascinated by a "Bamboo Helicopter" toy their father once gave them, the two brothers rebuilt it once it broke, and their interest in flying objects was forever ignited.
On a late summer's day in 1939 in southern Germany, the people watching the very first flight of a jet aircraft had NO idea how revolutionary it was to become for aviation, transportation, the world economy, politics and ultimately warfare. As a young man, Hans was fascinated by the effect of gliding majestically through the air but soon sought to find a way to increase the speed of flight...a lot!
"It's not only your torpedo we want, we want to buy your brain as well", the head-hunter of a major torpedo factory in Kent told Irish serial inventor Louis Brennan whilst offering him a staggering £110,000 for the rights to his new patent. From a young age, Louis dazzled his audience at local markets with useful and helpful inventions before he went on to develop one of warfare's most feared weapons.
I have a feeling you HATE soggy ice cream just as much as I do, am I right? Thanks to the genius of Florence Parpart, an already established engineer and inventor, we can enjoy fresh food through refrigeration and, we are less likely to catch any nasty germs from food being too warm over too long time. Her designs made way for the development of the freezer, so we can enjoy good food even longer. Yum!
If you were given a choice, would you rather jump off a sinking boat in an open top barrel or a steady life raft? I thought so, me too! Thanks to the engineering mind of Maria Beasley, who designed and produced a life saving device which carried over 700 people from the sinking Titanic to safety, we now dare to sail the seas with a much calmer mind towards exciting adventures.
Nowadays songs simply come out of your phone or pod like magic but it all began with a cassette tape, a long cord and a pair of yellow sponge covered earphones... It was musical heaven, and so revolutionary! As the undisputed "Wizard Of Sony", Nobutoshi during his career as an engineer of technology, helped win over 700 patents. His engineering mind knew no boundaries and people queued up to get a chance to work for and with him.
The son of a mining captain, living in Cornwall, the UK center of mining at the time, Richard was immersed in engineering, soot and the dangers of heavy, physical labor already from birth. The plights and hard work of his father most likely inspired him to try to ease his burden and thus invented the steam locomotive, which made transporting the mined material juuuust that little bit easier.
"The Mad Mechanic" was maybe not such an ill-fitting nickname for Irish born Harry Ferguson, whose invention of the three-point-linkage truly revolutionized farming. He also built his own aeroplane which he successfully flew in 1909, and a very fast motorbike which he engineered from scratch. Wouldn't you just love to have been a fly on the wall in this guy's workshop!
When we think of paints, coloring pencils felt pens and neon markers come to mind and when we want to use one, we simply zip open our pencil case and take them out! Not so easily done 350,000 years ago when the very first people discovered the effects and possibilities of pigment embedded in stone. It had to be ground out of the rock by hand, made into a powder, then mixed with water. All that for a bit of face paint, phew!
We all love our fashionable comfortable, well-cut and sewn clothes, am I right? Thanks to hard working and most likely finger-sore from sewing upholstery by hand carpenter, Thomas Saint, we can today enjoy fashion, furnishings, interior accessories and much much more. Many have developed and refined it since to suit all materials, but he was first.
Many may claim to have developed the art of photography but, Catholic priest Johann Zahn, fascinated by light and imagery was the first one to truly think it through and develop it. His book "Oculus Artificialis" describes in great detail the use of lenses, peep boxes, magic lanterns and much much more, a whopping 150 years before they could ever be built...
Imagine a world in black and white? It is no wonder mankind, having already mastered the art of photography was seeking that next step of true image depiction and finally live life in full color. Scottish scientist and multiple inventor James Clerk Maxwell successfully invented a 3-color system to create color imagery on photographic paper.
The graphic world of intense, mind boggling imagery/logos/branding that we enjoy today, we have to thank none other than Paul Rand for. During his over 60-year long career as designer and creator of shapes, styles and symbols that we still see and use in graphics today, he set a very high standards for modern visual design.
Opera is a captivating and dramatic way of telling a story, often filled with heart-filled love, deep heartbreak, desperation, bitter betrayal, victory and exuberant joy. The emotions are played out in a both tender and strong fashion with beautifully created scenery and exquisite costumes , telling tales from across the entire world.
Hypatia is the first female mathematician whose life and work has been properly recorded. As an extremely well respected female philosopher, astronomer, mathematician and teacher in a very male dominated world, she worked very hard to keep her position as an influential change-maker and educator. As a skilled crafts woman, she built many astrolabes and hydrometers for her students.
Having nearly lost his life at a young age from a ravishing fever, philosopher, mathematician, engineer, inventor and code breaker Charles Babbage's curious and inventive mind is the one to thank for the fact that you can read this! He designed and engineered the very first concept of the programmable computer and his instructions have led to many more later inventions in the same field.
Nicolaus, born on an ice cold winter's day in Prussia to well to do parents, grew up to become one of the most influential mathematicians, physician and astronomers of our time. A Catholic priest, diplomat and translator, Nicolaus discovered that the sun is the center of universe and that earth revolves around it, something his religious colleagues of course strongly opposed to and contested.
Hedwig Kiesler, born in Austria wished to become an actress already from childhood, and at the age of 18 she hit the jackpot and was discovered by Hollywood. Off to America she went, changed her name to Hedy Lamarr and began a soaring career. The little spare time she had, she devoted to challenge her mathematical intellect and, it was an excellent one, as she developed the system which today forms the basis of Wifi, Bluetooth and GPS.
Although this was said first at Emmy's memorial, when non other than Albert Einstein calls you a genius, you know you've made it! She knew from a very young age that being born an ambitious girl was not going to make her life easy, and, in fact, she was only allowed to "audit" lectures, rather than attend them, due to being a woman. As a physicist and mathematician she developed revolutionary theories in abstract algebra.
As the son of the local tax collector, mastering mathematics and learning how to calculate was somewhat important. Inspired by his father's daily chores, he invented and produced The "Pascaline", the very first mechanical calculating adding machine which was to pave the way for many future developments and improvements of the same method.
Being born a woman in the early 19.th century cannot have been easy, but, dedicated and strong-willed as Ada was from early on, she grabbed whatever education she could get and developed a deep love for mathematics. Working with Charles Babbage, the inventor of the computer, she discovered that it could follow a sequence of instructions and the rest is history as they say.
Each and every day, girls and women across the world are spending a staggering 200 million hour collecting and carrying water from often far away locations to their homes and families. The Hippo Water Roller which can contain up to 90 liters of water is either pushed or pulled along the roads. Its invention has transformed the living conditions and over all health of so many people.
As we all know, the desert can get really, really, really hot and food perishes within minutes in the baking sun. Considering that over one billion people living in deserts around the world all need to eat fresh produce like the rest of us, a Nigerian teacher developed a portable, sustainable and non-electrical pot-in-pot system which refrigerates the food with the help of water and clay.
Doctors around the world are doing an incredible job, keeping us all as healthy and well as they possibly can. Sometimes though their work due to lack of electricity, facilities, hospital space or resources can be challenging and the invention of the Q-POC which gives a diagnosis within less than 30 minutes improves their work significantly. Very small in space and battery operated, it is sustainable and portable, revolutionary to the medical market.
Situated high up in northern Scandinavia, Iceland certainly is not lacking in wind power, so it came natural for native sustainability and ecological company Janulus to seek the possibilities of harnessing the power of the Northern winds as efficiently as possible. Trinity, the portable wind turbine will charge any USB powered tool/technology within minutes and is usable in winds as low as 2km/hr.
It's not big, it's not huge, it's not enormous, it's absolutely GIGANTIC!! And, it's fully electrical... How is that possible? This massive truck which can hold up to 65 tons of goods when fully loaded produces its own energy through applying the breaks when going down hill (as one would!), then use that energy for going back up the hill, so it rarely needs to be recharged, making it even more sustainable.
Motivated by the hardships of the Kalinga tribe in her native Philippines living high up in the remote and very dark mountains, engineer Aisa and her brother invented a sustainable, cost effective and much less dangerous way than traditional Kerosene lamps to light their paths and homes. Using simple salt water, which is available nearly anywhere on earth, metal and a battery, the light can finally shine bright.
Inspired by her childhood cartoon hero Tarzan, Jane developed an incurable passion for nature, animals, the environment and teaching others how to best protect it at a very young age. Equipped with little more than a pen, notebook and a pair of binoculars, Jane traveled from her native England to Tanzania to devote the rest of her life to protecting vulnerable wildlife and still does today..
Isn't This Exciting!
Have you created any experiments or innovations, explored new avenues or been on any interesting adventures lately that you would like to show us and the world? We'd love to put it up here on BioMeBioYou to teach other kids around the globe of your fantastic explorations and inventions.
Send us an email with the details and images, and we'll get right back to you.