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10 Sep

Background We think of a battery today as a source of portable power, but it is no exaggeration to say that the battery is one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind.

Volta's pile was at first a technical curiosity but this new electrochemical phenomenon very quickly opened the door to new branches of both physics and chemistry and a myriad of discoveries, inventions and applications.

Despite decimalisation, we still use these sexagesimal measures today.

The Mesopotamians discovered glass, probably from glass beads in the slag resulting from experiments with refining metallic ores.

Egypt was also home to Imhotep the first man of science in recorded history. both of which refer to earlier works attributed to Imhotep. The process for making wrought iron was discovered by the Hittites, in Northern Mesopotamia and Southern Anatolia (now part of Eastern Turkey), who heated iron ore in a charcoal fire and hammered the results into wrought (worked) iron. Recorded in the Bible, Book of Exodus, Chapter 39, Verse 3, - "And they did beat the gold into thin plates, and cut it into wires, to work it. Its construction is described in great detail in the book of Exodus and according to the Bible and Jewish legend it was endowed with miraculous powers including emitting sparks and fire and striking dead Aaron's sons and others who touched it.

He was the world's first named architect and administrator who around 2725 B. built the first pyramid ever constructed, the Stepped Pyramid of Saqqara. The first outlines surgical treatments for various wounds and diseases and the second contains 877 prescriptions and recipes for treating a variety of medical conditions making Imhotep the world's first recorded physician. The earliest evidence of the art of stencilling used by the Egyptians. in the fine linen, with cunning work." The Egyptians also made coarse glass fibres as early as 1600 B. and fibers survive as decorations on Egyptian pottery dating back to 1375 B. It was basically a wooden box of acacia wood lined with gold and also overlaid on the outside with gold.

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As Hollywood fights to end family separation at the U. Hieroglyphic script evolved slightly later in Egypt. found in a temple at Erech in Mesopotamia show a chariot with solid wooden wheels.Though the script appeared on vases and stone carvings, many important Egyptian historical scripts and records were written in ink, made from carbon black (soot) or red ochre mixed with gelatin and gum, applied with a reed pen onto papyrus. Evidence from Ur indicates that the simpler potter's wheel probably predates the use of the axled wheel for transport because of the difficulty in designing a reliable mechanism for mounting the rotating wheel on a fixed hub or a rotating axle on the fixed load carrying platform.Since the average lunar month is 29.5 days, over 12 months this would produce a total of only 354 days as against a solar year of 365.25 days.To keep the calendar aligned to the seasons they added seven extra months in each period of 19 years, equivalent to the way we add an extra day in leap years.They were also active in the development of many other technologies such as textile weaving, locks and canals, flood control, water storage and irrigation. Sometimes known as the "Second oldest profession", soldering has been known since the Bronze Age (Circa 3000 to 1100 B. A form of soldering to join sheets of gold was known to be used by the Mesopotamians in Ur.There are also claims that the Archimedes' Screw may have been invented in Mesopotamia and used for the water systems at the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Fine metal working techniques were also developed in Egypt where filigree jewellery and cloisonné work found in Tutankhamun's tomb dating from 1327 B. was made from delicate wires which had been drawn through dies and then soldered in place. Fine wire also made by the Egyptians by beating gold sheet and cutting it into strips. Around this date, after his escape from Egypt, Moses ordered the construction of the Ark of the Covenant to house the tablets of stone on which were written the original "Ten Commandments".The writing was in the form of a series of wedge-shaped signs pressed into soft clay by means of a reed stylus to create simple pictures, or pictograms, each representing an object. the script progressively evolved to encompass more abstract concepts as well as phonetic functions (representing sounds, just like the modern Western alphabet) enabling the recording of messages and ideas.The clay subsequently hardened in the Sun or was baked to form permanent tablets. For the first time news and ideas could be carried to distant places without having to rely on a messenger's memory and integrity. Initially inspired by the development of batteries, it covers technology in general and includes some interesting little known, or long forgotten, facts as well as a few myths about the development of technology, the science behind it, the context in which it occurred and the deeds of the many personalities, eccentrics and charlatans involved."Either you do the work or you get the credit" Yakov Zel'dovich - Russian Astrophysicist Fortunately it is not always true.