World History Paper
The age of Renaissance spanned the periods starting from the mid 14th century to the beginning of the 17th century. It was a period that saw a heightened renewal of interest in classical Greek and Roman technology, architecture, and lifestyle. Speaking about the Industrial Revolution period that occurred between the 18th and 20th centuries, there was a complete change in the way of living in the society with technological and scientific inventions completely revolutionizing farming, transportation, and trade. Both the renaissance and the industrial revolution periods were eras of great technological inventions. During both these periods, there were many scientific discoveries and technological innovations in the areas of transport and communications, war and architecture.
Again, during both the Renaissance and the Industrial Revolution periods, there were technological advances in the area of labor; the consequence in both periods was the substitution of mechanical implements, devices, and machines for human labor. During the Renaissance period, there was the invention of navigation devices including compasses and the printing press by Gutenberg among many others. Consequently, ideas could now be recorded and spread easily thus permitting knowledge to be passed on faster, yet more accurately. Artists such as Leonardo da Vinci through their work enabled people to have a more accurate picture of the human anatomy thus furthering the study of medicine. Other technological innovations included the water pump, the microscope, the clockwork watch, and the flushing toilet. Similarly, during the Industrial Revolution, there were many instances of technological advancement with inventions such as such steam power, the cotton gin, safety lamps for the use in coal mining, the water wheel, electric power, and the internal – combustion engine among many others.
On the other hand, the Renaissance and Reform Period as well as the Industrial Revolution period were not without stark differences as far as science and technology were concerned. The scientific and technological innovations during the Industrial Revolution period were primarily those intended for industrial applications and specifically mass production of manufactured goods and the mechanization of labor and transportation. In contrast, science and technology during the Renaissance period concerned majorly lifestyle, warfare, intellectual, and long distance sea travel.
Science and technology in the contemporary world like during the Renaissance period have seen great advances mainly in the area of transport and communication, warfare and the medical fields with the development of the automobile, the aero plane, the radio, the television, and, most recently, the computer. But, contrary to the nature of science and technology in the Renaissance period, the present research and development methods by which new innovations are made are completely different. Currently, inventors have at their disposal scientific research innovations that did not exist during the Renaissance period.
Also, the field of research and development now transcends international borders with the consequence of amplifying the production of new ideas unlike in the Renaissance period. The nature of science and technology of this time and that of the contemporary world are also very dissimilar in that new knowledge in materials science has made it possible to produce more lightweight and durable structures resulting in structures and technologies that cannot be compared to what existed in the Renaissance era. Unique ways of communication using computers and advanced networks have also heralded a quicker rate of technological multiplier effect, something that did not exist during the Renaissance period. Technological change and innovation in the Renaissance era were extremely slow in comparison to what has been seen in the contemporary world.
In contrast to the Renaissance period, science and technology in the contemporary world are being applied directly towards the achievement of national objectives with governments being keenly interested in science and technology. These innovations are, in the contemporary world, are systematically applied to the prevention and curing of diseases, environmental protection, and national security. This is a clear indication that unlike the Renaissance period, science and technology in the contemporary world is more relevant and is being increasingly used in finding solutions to societal issues. A similarity between science and technology during the contemporary and Renaissance periods can be seen in the area of astronomy and physics. Important astronomical observation techniques are still constantly being sought in the contemporary world period just as they had been done in the Renaissance period when Galileo Galilei improved the telescope. Still, in the field of astronomy, improvements are currently being made in order that scientists can have a better understanding of the universe. As opposed to science and technology in the Renaissance period, however, technology is highly industry-based in the contemporary period with a strong dependence of industry on technology to overcome the challenges of productivity.
The industrial revolution period and the contemporary world period, on the other hand, share very many similarities in relation to science and technology. One of these similarities is that both the science and technology in these periods were industry-oriented and designed majorly with the optimization of mass manufacturing systems in mind.
The Industrial Revolution came about as a result of major advances in agricultural technology that led to the growth in population and resulted in a large urban non-farming population. This urban population created numerous new demands for food, clothing, and utility needs which could only be matched by increasing the efficiency of production systems.
This need necessitated a revolution, especially in manufacturing, and the result was the innovation of new production systems based on the use of machines. This resultant industrial revolution initiated other technological revolutions in the areas of transportation, communications, and information. This spin-off effect led to science and technology becoming more and more sophisticated. The above outlined technological situation that existed during the Industrial Revolution period is very similar compared to what has happened in the contemporary world period where science and technology have advanced very rapidly just like in the Industrial Revolution period. Science and technology in both the Industrial Revolution and the contemporary world periods also share the similarity of having been highly focused on the discovery and development of energy sources in order to meet the increasing demand that technological advancement and population growth creates at the same time struggling to mitigate against the depletion of the more traditional and non-renewable sources of energy. Just as science and technology was applied through innovation to come up with electricity as a replacement energy source for coal in the Industrial Revolution age, there has been novel innovations in the contemporary world period to tackle the problem of energy sources resulting in spin-off effects thus bringing about more inventions that were not intended for in the first place.
However, differences also exist between the Industrial Revolution and the contemporary world periods as far as science and technology is concerned. While in the Industrial Revolution period, science and technology was mostly agricultural and transport-based, in the contemporary world period, science and technology and its advancement has encompassed all areas of the sciences and humanities but with a very strong bias towards war, health sciences, communications, and information processing technologies. While the Industrial Revolution era was in all practicality an industrial age, the contemporary world period is the information age. During the Industrial Revolution age, the role of the inventor’s individual mind was indispensable. Observations, research, and experimentation were the only means by which innovations could be visualized. In contrast, science, technology, and innovation during the contemporary world period do not depend on the individual inventor per se as science and technology itself acts both as a tool of research and visualization of possibilities and as a means of further experimentation and modification of existing inventions.
The study of physics, also referred to as the exact sciences held a central position during the industrial revolution period. Novel ideas and methods of experimentation were coming up which aided in the discovery of new production tools and the invention of new ones. There was a lot of scientific curiosity during this era with many academic institutions serving as incubation centers for scientific discoveries. Science and technology was considered a fundamental aspect of development not only by academics but even by rulers with science being viewed as a means of securing borders and advancing conquest of new territories therefore scientists enjoyed extensive patronage from most empires. There were not only industrial and manufacturing oriented innovations during the industrial revolution period but also many purely scientific discoveries. These discoveries and inventions were in the areas mathematical modeling, measurement science, chemistry, geography and mechanics.
Similarly, the contemporary world period has also been an era of many discoveries and innovations in the field of what was known in during the industrial revolution as the pure sciences. Governments in the contemporary world period has also been deeply involved in science and technology by way of either facilitation, direct participation or by championing research and academic institutions just like it was during the industrial revolution period. Another common point in science and technology both in the contemporary world era and the industrial revolution period is the application of science and technology to empire building. Both the contemporary world and the industrial revolution period governments have pushed their expansionist ideals on the science and technology front using it as area of advantage in trying to expand their administrative and political influence beyond their borders. Governments and political entities in both these periods have used advancement in science and technology as a basis for conversion to or event at times the outright enforcement of their political ideologies and models upon other nations. As such, in both periods science and technology has led to ideological differences, arms races, fears of a global conflicts and the polarizing of nation states or empires into blocs.
And just as it had been in the industrial revolution period, science and technology in the contemporary world period has not only been limited to manufacturing, agricultural or transportation oriented inventions. The contemporary world period has seen a great magnitude of innovations in theoretical science with great advances seen in areas such as theory of relativity, antimatter, nanotechnology the invariance of the light propagation and radioactivity just to mention but a few. Another comparison that can be made between the industrial revolution and the contemporary world periods with respect to science and technology is the negative impact that innovation has had on the environment. Most of these innovations have led to a great deal of destruction to the natural environment.
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