105%20Chapter%203 - 1 Hss 105 Chapter 3: The Sources of...

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Hss 105 – Chapter 3: The Sources of Technological Change * What accounts for the emergence of particular technologies? * Why do they appear when they do? * How is the choice of technologies exercised? For example: Why digital computers developed only during the first half of the 20 th century even though their basic principles were understood one hundred years earlier? Why did not the Greeks utilize the team-toy for industrial purposes way back then? * The Great Breakthrough -- We usually think of solitary inventions – light bulb, penicillin (the first antibiotic), transistor (the new era of solid-state electronics. -- “Revolutionary” – not just improvements, but completely NEW approaches. -- Epochal Inventions that transformed the world! But… not just individual geniuses. -- ENTREPRENEURS: They make the inventions into commercial successes. For example, Bessemer, co-inventor of iron-re- fining furnace, Andrew Carnegie, who laid the commercial and organizational foundations of the industry. -- Hero? Sometimes a scientist who produced the knowledge that forms the basis of many tech applications. * A Great Technological Advance is usually the result of slow, but steady incremental things. -- Problems are identified and overcome; bugs are worked out and improvements are made. -- A multitude of small technological improvements resulted in large cumulative gains READ THE BOTTOM OF PAGE 36 -- The railroad improved and lowered costs = better insulation (allowing high power loads) = improved turbo-chargers , fuel injection system = high compression ratios = more efficient motors in cooling radiators = two-speed cooling fans = redesigned air ducts = lower idling speeds required -- By themselves, no great shakes; but, together… = 10% fuel savings and a gain of 24% in ton-miles. -- More often they result from one half-good idea that is improved upon incrementally 1 1
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* The “D” in “R & D” -- Lengthy development -- numerous problems have to be solved -- The new material or device has to be put in a form that allows it to be produced at a reasonable cost. -- Slow, unspectacular improvements = takes money!!! * Scaling Up -- Making the transition from successful research to large-scale production. -- Example of Scaling Up = penicillin
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This note was uploaded on 01/24/2011 for the course HSS 105 taught by Professor Anthonyprincipe during the Spring '09 term at Tri - County Technical College.

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105%20Chapter%203 - 1 Hss 105 Chapter 3: The Sources of...

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