Technology in the 20th Century


The constant advancements in technology have continued to affect different aspects of human lives since the 20th century. The impact of technology on man comes about due to the connection between the technological component and the behavior of people towards such advances. As Sander (1999) notes, the 20th century can be said to be the period within which man progressed constantly in terms of technology (Sanders, 1999, p. 1).

Technology advancements in the 20th century

Astronomy is one of the major scientific advancements made in the 20th century with the invention of satellites which have been used for communication purposes, monitoring of weather and observation of sites by military.

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The invention of astronomy has helped humans in understanding the universe and most importantly, measurements of weather which has in turn allowed for weather forecasting by meteorologists. These different types of manmade orbits were invented by man during the late 90s to serve their specific functions as mentioned above. Examples of satellites developed in the 20th century include; telescopes, space probes and crafts.

Another very significant technological advancement in the 20th century is genetic engineering invented as a biological advancement. Genetic engineering was developed to widen the understanding of the development process of living things. The understanding of development of living things was meant to enable humans attain the capacity to control some calamities such as hunger and diseases (Treat, 2006, p. 1).

Similarly, genetic engineering has been used to control behavior of living things such as humans, other animals and even plants by modifying genes into desirable characteristics. Since its invention, genetic engineering has enabled the manipulation of organisms through the processes of reproduction and heredity. Similarly, biomedical interventions have since been developing which include; cloning, in vitro fertilization and production of sperm banks among others.

The invention of computers and the internet is an equally significant advancement of the 20th century. The internet was invented way back in 1969 in the department of defense in the U.S. Its invention was aimed at enhancing effective communication in all researches related to defense (Bellis, 2011, p. 1).

In conjunction with the National Science Foundation, the defense department developed the use of the internet not only within U.S.A, but all over the world. However, the use of internet was still unfamiliar to many until the late 90s when millions of people around the globe claimed internet access. Since then, the internet has been used as a network through which information can be shared all over the world, within organizations and between individuals.

Nuclear energy is also a technological advancement of the 20th century involving the science of physics. The advancements in nuclear energy began way back in 1942 and have continued to develop until 1998.

The production of nuclear energy results from reactions which occur as a result of changes in the nucleus of atoms and hence nuclear energy has been presented as the safest source of energy ever since its invention (ThinkQuest. ND, p. 1). This is because its production does not involve environmental risks associated with activities such as burning of fossil fuels. In addition, the invention of nuclear physics has led to the development of nuclear weapons which have been regarded as safety tools.

Another important technological invention of the 20th century is in medicine especially the invention of penicillin. Penicillin was initially invented by Alexander Fleming in 1928 but his discovery was modified in the 1950 with more refined isolation and purification techniques (Mason, 2011, p. 1).

This followed the production of various penicillin antibiotics which have been used widely for the treatment of bacterial infections. Some of the most significant uses of penicillin are in the treatment of infections of the urinary tract and the treatment of typhoid and enteric fever. Being the first antibiotic to be discovered, penicillin is the most trusted antibiotic being used worldwide.

The technology advancements of the 20th century also saw the invention of synthetic fibers as part of chemical science. The process of producing synthetic fibers was invented in 1902 though the very first developments were made in 1945 in the United States (Jupiter scientific.1999, p. 1).

Almost all the materials and products used today originate from synthetics. Similarly, synthetic food additives were also developed in the late 80s including flavorings, sweeteners and colorants. In addition, the technological advancements of the 20th century on synthetics, led to the development of synthetic chemical agents which have been used for the treatment of bacterial infections.


Of all the technologies developed in the 20th century, the advancement of computers and internet has had the greatest impact on modern lives. This is because the world is becoming more and more business oriented and the use of computers and the internet in running every day-to-day operation for businesses has been an effective venture.

Computers have made business operations much faster and efficient such as record keeping and financial analysis. Similarly, the use of computers has lessened the number of individual workers and hence reduced expenditure for business in terms of wages. In addition, the internet has enabled people and organizations to share information at a faster speed compared to other modes of communicating such as letters and telegrams.

Reference List

Bellis, M. (2011). 20th century timeline: 1900 – 1999. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from,

Jupiter scientific. (1999). A century of discoveries in physics. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from,

Mason, R. (2011). Technological advances in the 20th century. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from,

ThinkQuest. (ND). Nuclear energy. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from,

Treat, A. (2006). Major developments in instructional technology: during the 20th century. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from,

Sanders, R. (1999). Technology in a paradigm of century. Retrieved September 15, 2011, from,


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