Definition #330 Inventions

Photo by Jeanne at the Apple Store: fish eye lens on iPhone6+

Photo by Jeanne at the Apple Store: fish eye lens on iPhone6+

lens to see as fish

lens to see macro as mites

wide angles to specs

The American Association for the Advancement of Science was established in Philadelphia on this date in 1848. Its stated purpose was to “procure for the labors of scientific men increased facilities and a wider usefulness.”

The term “scientist” had been coined in English just 15 years earlier, and all over the world scientists were making important new discoveries and formulating new ideas. Europe tended to be the center for the great theorists of science — in the year 1848, Léon Foucault set up his first rudimentary pendulum to demonstrate the Earth’s rotation; Darwin was at work on his theory of evolution; Michael Faraday was at the height of his work on electromagnetism. But America was cut off from Europe, and it was hard to compete with the scientific community there. Instead, there was an interest in invention and science that supported industry. Just four years earlier, the first telegraph line was installed, stretching from Baltimore to Washington, D.C. Trains were popping up all over the country, and in the year 1848, four times as many train tracks were laid as in 1847. In 1845, Elias Howe had invented the mechanical sewing machine. The inventor Cyrus McCormick had sold the patent for his McCormick Reaper in the 1830s.

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