The Atlantic: The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since the Wheel
1. The printing press, 1430s
The printing press was nominated by 10 of our 12 panelists, five of whom ranked it in their top three. Dyson described its invention as the turning point at which “knowledge began freely replicating and quickly assumed a life of its own.”
And then there was light—and Nos. 4, 9, 16, 24, 28, 44, 45, and most of the rest of modern life.
Accidentally discovered in 1928, though antibiotics were not widely distributed until after World War II, when they became the silver bullet for any number of formerly deadly diseases ...