Science Maps for Kids
The hands-on science maps for kids invite children to see, explore, and understand science from above. One map shows our world and the places where science is practiced or researched. The other shows major areas of science and their complex interrelationships.
Children and adults alike are invited to help solve the puzzle by placing major scientists, inventors, and inventions at their proper places. Start by selecting either of the two maps. Decide if you want to place famous people or major inventions first. Turn the map over when you are done and start again. Look for the many hints hidden in the drawings to find the perfect place for each puzzle piece. What other inventors and inventions do you know? Where would your favorite science teachers and science experiments go? What area of science do you want to explore next.
Both maps also appear in the Illuminated Diagram display by Kevin Boyack, Richard Klavans, John Burgoon, Peter Kennard, and W. Bradford Paley. Watercolor paintings by Fileve Palmer were digitally added by Elisha Hardy to make different continents as well as different areas of science more tangible.
The puzzle maps were created by Fileve Palmer (painting), Julie Smith (data acquisition), Elisha Hardy and Katy Börner (graphic design). We would like to thank the New York Hall of Science for manufacturing the physical maps.
Map of Science
Astronomy: An image of an Aztec calendar surrounded by revolving planets.
Math: Mobius strip depicting the concept of infinity, divine proportion, and shadowy-scientist writing out the Pythagorean Theorem and a quadratic equation.
Computer Science: Motherboard for a modern computer and binary 0101010 computer coding.
Social Science: Archeologist/pathologist, Art Aufderheide, preparing a mummy for photographing and research on parasites and infectious diseases.
Mental Health: Traditional psychology inkblot test (Rorschach test) and phrenology with a head caliper.
Brain: OHSU/Third World Medical Research Foundation President, Valerie Strydom Palmer, looking at lathyrism (a neurological disease adversely effecting limbs) patient in Southeast Asia; image of brain inside a skull; neuron.
Health Care: A Persian image from 12th century depicting Iba Sina performing an operation on a friend of his.
Therapeutic: Ghana challenged athlete and prosthesis wearer Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah.
Cell Bio: James Watson & Francis Crick looking at DNA structure; a sperm fertilizing an egg.
Virology: HIV virus latching on to a cell; hepatitis C virus; Edward Jenner and the classic image of the "first" person to be vaccinated against smallpox.
Infectious Disease: Mosquito acting as a disease vector for either yellow fever, malaria, or most recently the West Nile virus, and snails that act as disease vectors for schistosomiasis (bilharzia).
Biology: Dian Fossey, Zoologist/primatologist, who worked with gorillas and gorilla advocacy; orchid, bee, and clown fish (made famous with the Pixar© movie Finding Nemo©) in sea anemone showing a symbiotic relationship of marine life.
Earth Science: Plate tectonics, or theory of continental drift, noticed first in the early 20th century.
Organic Synthesis: Water (H2O) molecules moving toward a flower.
Applied Physics: Taj Mahal, Sphinx beside a pyramid, Roman Coliseum
Physics: Incan man holding a quipus, an accounting device made up of a series of knotted strings that were used to keep historic records of various abstract mathematic concepts or for tasks like maintaining tax records. The image above his head is an example of a quipus. The strings are also an illusion to the development of string theory by a man named Zewieback from Peru.
Physical Chemistry: Petroleum distillery
Map of the World
Southern Tip: Zulu shield used by warriors in battle, it is typically made from cow hide. The Zulu were a pastoral people that highly valued cattle as a source of wealth. Behind the shield are club-like weapons called saghela, or what the English call “knob carries.” Also shown is a Zulu spear, supposedly designed by Shaka, a Zulu chief from 1816–1828. He cut the spear's shaft down to allow for better manipulation of the weapon.
Sea around South Africa: Southern Right Whale—these whales earned their name in the whaling days of the European nations. They were the ‘right’ whale to hunt because they moved so slowly that they made easy targets! However, because they were ‘right’ to hunt then, today they are an endangered species. The town Hermanus about 45 minutes East of Cape town South Africa is one of the best places to view them when they come to breed during the southern hemisphere’s winter months between June and August.
The Great White Shark can be seen off the Coast of South Africa, Gaans Bai (Goose Bay in Afrikaans). It is the only place where they leap out the water. The sharks love the area because many seals live close by. National Geographic has filmed sharks and seals here for "Shark Week!" People go cage diving to see the Great White up close.
Middle Africa: The female wooden mask you see is called Luvale. The mask is from Zambia. The markings on her forehead are a symbol for the sun. The three markings indicate the midday sun.
Above the mask to the left is a Benin Head of an Oba, or King, from 18th century Nigeria. Next to it is an image of Timbuktu, an ancient center of Islamic learning. This city began to flourish after the hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca) by Mansa Musa, grandson of Sundiata, the founder of the West African kingdom of Mali.
Camels traveling behind Timbuktu symbolize the Sahara caravan trade route. This trade route connected the kingdoms of Mali, Songhai, and Ghana in West Africa across the desert to supply Europe and the Middle East with salt, ivory, gold, animal pelts, and slaves.
Images of the Gaza Pyramid and the Sphinx appear around Egypt. Pyramids were used to commemorate the greatness of various pharaohs and to ease their transition into the afterlife. The Sphinx is thought to be the head of pharaoh Khafra built around 2723 BC - 2563 BC.
Europe: Around England and Scandinavia there is a Viking Ship. The Vikings were sea-fairing people and fierce warriors who lived in northern Europe between 800 CE-1100 CE.
Moving eastward to Russia you see the Red Square, one of the world’s most famous city squares. It is located in Moscow and highlighted by the colorful towers of Saint Basil’s Cathedral. Further to the east is a Siberian Tiger, an endangered species due to humanity’s ravenous appetite for the beautiful pelts and bones for use in medicines.
Moving toward the south you come to the beautiful Taj Majal in India, built between 1631CE – 1648CE. It was built out of grief by the Mughal Emperor Sh?h Jah?n as a mausoleum for his recently deceased wife.
The Great Wall of China stretches across Asia from the sea to the desert. The construction of the wall happened over a great period of time, and was begun by Qin Shi Huang Di the first. Di united many independent states which later became China. by the way China was called by us English speakers "China" because of this guy! It is one of the only, if not the only, man made structure visible from space.
Australia: Let’s jump down to Australia - the continent with the kangaroo and the boomerang. The Kangaroo is the only national animal that is also considered a pest…and is eaten! The boomerang is a traditional aboriginal tool used for hunting animals, such as the kangaroo. Both images as well as the Great White Shark, Leather Back Turtle, and Manta Ray are pained with dots to mimic the "dreamings" or paintings of the traditional Aboriginal art.
South America: Looking to the west toward the Americas, there is a woman with a bun drinking a ‘Yerba Mate’, which is a traditional stimulating drink much like coffee but with more vitamins. It is usually served in a communal cup and sipped out of a shared metal straw. It was a favorite drink of the famous revolutionary "Che" Guavera!
Jack Ass Penguins are indigenous only to the southern hemisphere! They are a protected animal and also make South Africa their home. They even live on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held in prison for more than 20 years.
The Orca Whales, also called Killer Whales can be found all over the world but have some ‘favorites’ such as the west side of South America. Some scientists say these animals seem to have distinct "cultures"! Whales in certain areas will only hunt particular kinds of prey using unique hunting methods. They teach hunting techniques to their calves using specific vocalizations to communicate with each other.
Moving up north is the Incan noble holding a quipu or talking knot. These knots took the place of written records and helped Incans keep track of tax and other information. Toward the northwest you see Macaw parrots which are indigenous, or native, to South America but owned by people around the world as pets.
Looking north to Central America there is an Aztec calendar and a Hopi Kachina Doll of the Southwestern United States. These dolls were considered to have deep spiritual meanings for the Hopi Indians.
North America: Near Florida you can see Manatees, an endangered water mammal. They were hunted by the Carib and Taino Indians, yet confused by European sailors for being mermaids! Then there is a mosquito. Mosquitoes can be carriers of diseases, or what scientists call disease vectors, for diseases like dengue and yellow fever, malaria, and West Nile virus.
Looking west you see men rowing a canoe. These men are traditional Hawaiian, and it is said that the first people to come to Hawaii sailed by canoe from East Asia.
Moving south there is a clown fish with an anemone. Scientists call their relationship a symbiosis because both the fish and the plant gain by living together.
Finally, in the far North you will see a totem pole of Inuit culture, and an Igloo of the Arctic Canada region. Igloos were traditional buildings of the snow region.
Puzzle Pieces – Inventors
Imhotep (2630–2611 BC) - Egypt
Before this ancient Egyptian was worshiped as a god, he was a great inventor and the architect of pyramids that have survived for nearly 4000 years. Imhotep was the first architect and physician recorded by written history. He designed the Saqqarah Pyramid, for the King Djoser, considered to be the oldest Egyptian step pyramid. Also Imhotep may have developed one of the first columns known to architecture. He was a strong political and religious figure, serving as a chancellor to the pharaoh and a priest to the Sun god, Ra. While alive he was understood to be a genius and today he is famous for his work as a physician and his recorded cures, ailments, and anatomy.
Zhang Heng (78–139 AD) - China
He did it all: astronomy, mathematics, art, poetry, and literature. This ancient inventor from the Han Dynasty made many important contributions to science. Zhang Heng was an astounding Chinese intellectual who made advancements in both the arts and the sciences. At the age of 12 he was already an accomplished author. By the age of 30 he began his studies of astronomy. During this time he also pursued politics and was responsible for cleaning up corruption in his local government. Heng is known for many accomplishments, among them, synchronizing the Chinese calendar with the seasons, and developing the earliest seismometer to measure the movement of the Earth.
Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi (780–850 AD) - Middle East, Persia
A famous mathematician and astronomer, he was the first to introduce the number zero to the western world. Muhammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi was a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer, and geographer. He wrote the first book about linear and quadratic equations and shares the title of “father of algebra” with the Greek scientist Diophantus. His book also introduced Western mathematicians to the number zero and Hindu-Arabic numerals. Al-Khw?rizm? lived in present-day Baghdad, a city known for scientific research trade after the Islamic conquest between 637-651 AD.
Ibn Sina (980–1037 AD) - Middle East
He is a physician and philosopher who wrote a famous medical textbook that was used many centuries after his death. The Iranian scientist, also known Avicenna (in Latin), produced over 100 books in his lifetime. He is remembered for his work in medicine. His book, The Canon of Medicine, became a central text for European universities. He also wrote The Book of Healing, a vast philosophical and scientific encyclopedia. His texts were the earliest to describe the anatomy of the eye, give descriptions of cataracts, assert that tuberculosis was contagious, outline symptoms of diabetes, and describe the heart as a valve. In his time, Ibn Sina was recognized as a genius and particularly noted for his contributions to Aristotelian philosophy.
Carlos Finlay (1833–1915) - Cuba
Don’t like mosquito bites? You have good reason: Finlay discovered that they can spread infectious diseases such as yellow fever. In 1865, Dr. Finlay outlined a theory for how infectious diseases like yellow fever are spread. Among his famous observations and theories was the claim that the mosquito is a carrier for the yellow fever disease. Today this carrier is called the disease vector. Finlay’s exhaustive yellow fever research was a huge step forward for both medical research and treatment.
Sigmund Freud (1856–1939) - Austria
This physician believed that his patients suffered from long-forgotten and unresolved problems. His psychoanalytic theories profoundly influenced 20th Century thought. Austrian born Sigmund Freud is known as the father of psychoanalysis. While many of his observations and theories are considered out-of-date, Freud's research into the human mind served to popularize and define the study of psychology. Most famous are his theories on the influence of the unconscious mind and his unique incorporation of sexual desire into the human psyche. Freud discovered that the act of talking about random topics with his patients helped their unconscious mind overcome certain painful events in a technique called free association. He also did pioneering work in the understanding of dreams through dream analysis which he called, "the royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious." While successful and heavily awarded during his lifetime, in his later life Freud himself suffered from psychosomatic disorders and phobias of death.
Marie Curie (1867–1934) - Poland
She helped discovered the radioactive properties of Uranium and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize. Marie Curie was born and raised in Warsaw, Poland, a country occupied under Russian rule, and she eventually moved to France to complete her education. She became the first woman in France to receive doctorate and the first woman to teach at Sorbonne University. While teaching, she met Pierre Curie and the two married in 1895. Together they discovered polonium (named in honor of Marie’s native Poland) and radium in 1898. Curie then turned her attention to an ore called pitchblende which led to her discovery of radioactivity She understood the importance of this new field of science and the possibilities of treating illness, a technique that doctors today call radiation therapy. In addition to being the first woman to win a Nobel Prize, Curie was also the first person to win two Nobel Prizes, for her studies in radioactivity, and the only person to win them in two different fields: physics (1903), and chemistry (1911).
Albert Einstein (1879–1955) - Germany
Einstein’s work changed the way scientists think about space and time. In just a few short years his theories rewrote over 400 years of scientific understanding. Albert Einstein has been called the greatest physicist of all time. He is responsible for developing numerous physics theories including the special and general theories of relativity. The year 1905 is referred to as Einstein’s “Wonderful Year”. In this one year he wrote five important papers including the Special Theory of Relativity and his Nobel Prize winning explanation of the photoelectric effect. But in his early life, Einstein had trouble with school. He was high school drop-out and failed French, chemistry, and biology. Fortunately, his grades were so excellent in mathematics and physics that he passed the college entrance examinations and was allowed into the school, on the condition that he completed his high school diploma. Luckily, he did, and today Einstein’s intellect and ingenuity is so famous that his name is a synonym for genius. Even people with no knowledge of physics can recite Einstein’s famous equation: E=mc^2!
Barbara McClintock (1902–1992) - USA
This genetic botanist won a 1983 Nobel Prize for her work in plant chromosomes. Barbara McClintock is one of the most world renowned cytogeneticists. She entered her field of study long before it was common or accepted for women to produce their own scientific research. In 1983, she became the only woman to receive an unshared Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Her life-long research centered around maize (corn) genetics. She studied maize chromosomes and in the 1940s and 1950s she discovered transposons, or “jumping genes,” a form of genetic mutation responsible for the enormous diversity of human immune systems, or the way that some people can fight off certain disease and other cannot; they also are a possible factor in speeding up evolution. Her discovery allowed her to explain how genes could turn physical characteristics on and off.
Hedy Lamarr (1913–2000) - Germany
This glamorous film star was a noted inventor of a radio communications device. Hedy Lamarr is famous for being both an actress and a communications innovator. Until later in life, she was largely known for her beauty and acting fame. She came to resent this role and is known for saying: "Any girl can be glamorous. All you have to do is stand still and look stupid." Her contribution to science was her co-development with George Antheil of a version of frequency hopping. This technique was designed to help radio guided torpedoes become harder to detect. They patented their idea hoping to help the allied effort in World War II. The innovation, however, was ahead of its time and not implemented until after the war when it was used by the U.S.A. in the 1962 blockade of Cuba. Today the device is a component of satellites and cellular phones.
Jonas E. Salk (1914–1995) - U.S.A.
He was a microbiologist who discovered the first effective vaccine against polio. In the 1940s and early 1950s, polio was a fearsome word. There were epidemic outbreaks of the disease in the U.S.A. and worldwide. The disease was responsible for crippling our 32nd president, Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Aided by Albert B. Sabin, physician and researcher John Salk was responsible for developing the first polio vaccine. The long-term use of the polio vaccine has lead to a huge worldwide decline in polio outbreaks. Salk devoted much of his later career to the development of a possible AIDS vaccine and in 1963 he became director of the Institute for Biological Studies in San Diego, California, which he helped create. Today this laboratory, now named the Salk Institute, works to discover new therapies and treatments for a range of diseases.
Arthur Birch (1915–1995) - Australia
He was one of the world's top chemists, devising a widely-used method in organic chemistry and President of the Australian Academy of Science. Arthur Birch was an organic chemist who developed a breakthrough procedure in synthetic organic chemistry, known as Birch reduction. Birch reduction is used to modify steroids and has led to the development of a synthesized male sex hormone which in turn led to one of the first contraceptive pills. Additionally, Birch reduction has aided the development of other drugs and antibiotics. Birch began his education and research in his native Australia at the University of Sydney, and later received a scholarship to travel to England and complete his Ph.D. at Oxford University. In 1952, he returned to Australia where he remained actively engaged in science for the rest of his life.
Jane Goodall (born 1934) - United Kingdom
She is a primatologist that discovered that chimpanzees are capable of making and using tools. Jane Goodall is one of the most well known figures in primatology. She is a English born scientist who conducted a 45-year-long study of chimpanzees’ social networks and daily life at the Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania. She found, for example, that the animals are omnivorous, they eat meat as well as plant life; that they are capable of making and using tools; and that they have complex and highly developed social behaviors. In 1977 she founded the Jane Goodall Institute that advocates for the preservation of primates and their ecological habitats. In 2003, she was acknowledged for her various achievements and made Dame of the British Empire, the female equivalent of knighthood.
Kalpana Chawla (1961–2003) India
This famous astronaut was one of the members lost in the 2003 space shuttle Columbia tragedy. Kalpana Chawla was a space shuttle mission specialist and an astronaut. She was born in Karnal, Punjab, India and was the first woman to study aeronautical engineering at Punjab Engineering College in India were she earned her bachelor’s degree before coming to the U.S.A. to finish her master’s degree and Ph.D. She was a part of two space missions during her career and tragically died in 2003 aboard the Columbia space shuttle’s STS-107 mission. In memory of the accident, the International Astronomical Union honored the seven lost crew members by renaming asteroids after them. The minor planet 2001 OB34 is now named 51826 Kalpanachawla.
Mami Yoshida Rudasingwa (born 1963) - Japan
She didn’t originally aim for a career in prosthetics, but countless individuals in Rwanda who have benefited from her free prostheses program are glad that she did. Unsatisfied with her corporate job in a metal working plant in Japan, Mami Yoshida Rudasingwa came across a guidebook about Africa and traveled there in 1989. While in Kenya, she fell in love with a man named Gatera Rudasingwa and a paralysis in his right leg sparked her interest in prosthetics. After returning to Japan for a short time to study prosthetics, Yoshida and Rudasingwa went to Rwanda in 1997 to establish the Mulindi/Japan One Love Project, a nongovernmental organization that provides free prosthetic legs to individuals who have been disabled in the conflict following the Rwandan genocide of 1994. It is estimated that 800,000 Rwandans, 10% of the country's population, were left injured by the mines and violence that broke out in this country. Although Yoshida’s program is a success, she warns in her frequent lectures all over the world that, ''Contributing artificial legs alone is no good. We must find work for these people. Otherwise, our efforts aren't complete.''
Shirleigh Strydom (born 1962) - South Africa
He took on the daunting task of cleaning up a nation. Shirleigh Strydom is the president of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA), a nation that has experienced a waste crisis involving overflowing landfills and, as a result, toxic pollution of the air. Strydom was born and raised in South Africa and he studied at Southern Vermont College before he returned to his homeland to work on environmental issues. As part of IWMSA, Strydom has helped pass laws regulating the disposal of dangerous waste products and hosts a bi-annual conference, WasteCon, to discuss the problems and solutions that other nations face. Waste management is essential to any country’s development because when done well it protects natural resources and people, while also gaining resource from the waste.
Desiré Tshala-Katumbay (born 1965) Congo
Like a medical detective, this doctor was able to discover the cause of a devastating disease in Congo: Eating food which contains poisonous cyanide. Desiré Tshala is a neurologist from the Democratic Republic of Congo. His work helped uncover the cause of the devastating disease Konzo (Mantakassa), an irreversible neurological illness affecting the brain and limbs. Konzo results from eating improperly processed cassava, a local plant that contains cyanide. Many children and adults are afflicted with this disease in Tshala’s native country. Trained as a neurologist in Congo, Tshala received his Ph.D. in Neurology in Sweden and did his post-doctorate under Valerie Palmer (see Map of Science), president of the Third World Medical Research Foundation. Tshala is member of the toxicogenomics team at the Center for Research on Occupational and Environmental Toxicology at Oregon Health and Science University and frequently lectures on global health issues and the related problems affecting African countries.
Lü Zun'e (1900's) China
He discovered a fossil of an early human that lived before the last ice age. Lü Zun'e is an archaeologist from China who discovered the Jinniushan fossil, the skeletal remains of a prehistoric person who lived 260,000 years ago, just before the last ice age. Zun'e is a professor of archaeology at Peking University in Beijing, China and his work has focused on the Inner Mongolia Autonomous region in China. His famous discovery was made while leading a team of students in a 1984-1985 expedition to find early human remains. The Jinniushan skeleton first thought to be a man but recent analysis has confirmed the remains are of a prehistoric woman, excavated from a collapsed limestone cave near Sitian Village, southwest of Yinkou in Liaoning Provence. Jinniushan tells us much about our prehuman ancestors and their development.
Puzzle Pieces – Inventions
Mummification (3300 BC) Egypt
The ancient Egyptians believed that to enjoy the afterlife, you need a well-preserved body. They found a way to preserve mummies that remain in good condition to this day. Mummies represent a huge contribution to social science and the study of past cultures, archaeology. Among the most famous mummy-makers are the ancient Egyptians. Ancient Egyptians believed that the preservation of the human body, also called embalming, was essential to helping the soul into the afterlife. Because of this belief, they created an intricate system of preservation and embalming the bodies of their loved ones, and sometimes even their pets! To keep the body from decaying, the Egyptians would begin by removing the internal organs (preserving them separately in vases, known as canopic jars), then fill the body with chemicals and perfumes, and finally wrap it in linen bandages. Mummification isn’t unique to Egypt, however, scientists have found them in many areas of the world from Europe, South America, Asia, and Australia.
Early Brain Surgery (2000 BC) - Peru
The ancient civilizations of South America were way ahead of their time and practiced their own form of surgery on awake patients – Ouch! Humans have long been interested in the nature of the brain. One of the earliest civilizations to perform regular brain surgery was an ancient tribe of South Africa that existed before the Incas. They used “surgical tools” made of bronze and sharp-edged volcanic rock to perform a procedure, called trepanation, where they bored a hole into the skull. Sometimes, this was done as a religious ritual or magical practice. However, sometimes trepanation was preformed to eliminate headaches, treat mental illness, or to relieve swelling. Scientists know that the procedure was done to live patients, and not simply a form of torture, because the trepanized skulls show evidence of healing. Plus, the great number of healed skulls suggests that this practice might have been successful or they would not have continued performing the surgery.
Arabic Numerals (400 BC) - India
0, 1, 2, 3, 4, …Sounds simple right? But even numbers had to be invented. The numbering system that we use today was the first system to use zero, one of the biggest advancement in mathematics. The system is called the Arabic numerals, or the Hindu-Arabic numerals, because it was developed in India between 400 BC–400 AD. The base 10 numbers then spread to the Middle East in the 9th century and finally progressed to Europe in the 10th century. In Western culture they are commonly understood to be the Arabic numerals because they were introduced to Europe through Arabic mathematicians and astronomers. However, despite its genius, the system did not become widely used in Europe until the invention of the modern printing press by Johannes Gutenberg in the 1440’s.
Great Wall of China (300's BC) - China
Reaching grand proportions of 50 feet tall and 40 feet wide the Great Wall symbolized the enormous power and strength of the ancient Chinese empires. The Great Wall of China is the longest man-made structure built on Earth, running 1,500 miles (2,400 kilometers) across northern China. The wall, built from brick and earth, took many centuries to construct. There were four major wall constructions: the first was constructed around 3rd Century BC, during the Qin Dynasty, by connecting a series of pre-existing walls dating back to the 7th Century BC. The second construction was added in the 1st Century BC, during the Han Dynasty, and the third wall construction occurred between 1138–1198 AD. Finally, the wall we see today occurred through many repairs and additions made between 1368–1644 AD, during the Ming Dynasty. The Great Wall is one of the very few things on earth that can be seen from space!
Seismograph (132 AD) - China
When the Earth shakes, it can be very dangerous. Scientists use seismographs to measure exactly where and when an earthquake occurs in order to predict when it might happen again. Seismographs measure the seismic waves produced when the tectonic plates of the Earth's crust shift and move. They have been built many different ways including: water spillage, clock devices, pendulums, and magnetic detectors. The oldest known seismograph design was built in 132 AD by Zhang Heng who lived in China. His instrument was designed with small animal figurines, so if an earthquake occurred, a ball would drop from a dragon's mouth and fall directly into a frog's mouth below it. Today, seismographs are highly sensitive, electronic devices that can register an earthquake within minutes of the event. This capability is essential in helping scientists measure shifts in the earth and predict future earthquakes.
Syringe (800's AD) - Iraq
Nobody likes getting their shots, but this little device is an essential tool for doctors to safely inject fluids into your body that will keep you healthy. The very first syringe was created in the 9th century by a scientist named `Ammar ibn `Ali al-Mawsili from present-day Iraq. This early syringe was a hollow glass tube that used suction to remove cataracts from his patients’ eyes. Today, the hypodermic syringe is made of a plastic piston fitted with a hypodermic needle. The syringe is an essential tool in medicine. It is frequently disposable to help stop the spread of blood-born diseases. Syringes are also useful in chemistry research, veterinary medicine, and even cooking.
Microscope (1595) - Netherlands
Along with the invention of the microscope came the discovery that one single drop of water contained a world of bacteria and tiny organisms. Invented by Zacharias Janssen and his father Hans Janssen in 1595, the compound microscope use an objective lens and an eyepiece to observe scientific phenomenon not visible to the naked-eye. Antonie van Leeuwenhoek began making single lens microscopes in 1668. Many of Leeuwenhoek’s discoveries are shrouded in mystery because, because he produced his lenses in secret, perpetuating a myth that they were very difficult to produce. He was the first to describe single cell organisms (he called them "animalcules") and was considered to be the father of microbiology. Today scientists commonly use microscopes in their research. They use optical designs, like this early compound microscope, as well as newer inventions such as: electron microscopes, scanning-probe microscopes, and X-ray microscopes.
Molecular Theory (1738) - Switzerland
When atoms heat up they move faster and try to disperse all over, like the steam rising off a pot of boiling water- this theory predicts how. Matter (everything that makes up our world) can be found in different states: solids, liquids, or gasses. To understand and predict how materials behave in different states, scientists needed a theory to describe the properties of each state. Daniel Bernoulli was the first scientist to publish on the properties of gasses in 1738, although his ideas were ignored for over a century. Bernoulli pictured gases as an enormous number of molecules moving in a very fast, chaotic motion. From his writing, scientists developed the Kinetic theory of gasses in the 1800’s and now we know that gas pressure is related directly to temperature and density.
Computers (1837) - United Kingdom
Everything from flying a plane to managing the world’s finances to helping you write a school paper, the computer is a part of everyday life. But who invented it? A computer is defined as being a programmable device. The first computer was designed by Charles Babbage, a British mathematician who lived in the 1800’s. He called his invention the Analytical Engine. Because he ran short on funds, Babbage never built a version of his own invention. In 1977, Apple Computer created one of first affordable personal computers. In 1985, they incorporated the first graphical user interface (GUI) which helped make computers easier for everyone to use.
Classical Conditioning (1890's) - Russia
The famous Greek philosopher Aristotle knew the phenomena as the law of contiguity and wrote: "When two things commonly occur together, the appearance of one will bring the other to mind." Classical Conditioning is a phenomenon of associative learning pertaining to the study of psychology. Ivan Pavlov was the first to describe classical conditioning during his research on dogs in the 1890’s. While studying the digestive system in dogs, Pavlov rang a bell before serving the dogs food and observed them salivating.When the process was repeated enough times, the dogs salivated to the bell ringing whether the food was present or not.
X-ray (1895) - Germany
Scientist can look at your bones with a special form of light called X-rays. This light travels at a different frequency than regular light so it can pass through some soft material (like skin) but not dense, hard material (like bones). The discovery of X-rays and X-ray photography was important to several areas of science. X-ray is important to physics because it represents a type of electromagnetic radiation. The X-ray picture is particularly helpful in health care. While supported by the research of colleagues and scientists who had come before him, Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen is known as the first to discover X-rays. Thomas Edison was a contemporary of Röntgen who also worked on x-ray research, but dropped it around 1903 after the death of Clarence Dally, one of his glassblowers. Dally frequently tested X-ray tubes on his hands, and developed such an aggressive cancer in them that both arms were amputated in an attempt to save his life. In 1923, Röntgen also died of cancer. However,it isn’t assumed his cancer developed from his work because his investigations were only for a short time and he was one of the few who used protective lead shields routinely at that time.
Adrenalin (1901) - Japan
When your brain senses trouble it tells your body to produce chemicals that can speed up your heart rate and give your body an extra jolt of energy needed to escape danger. By the mid-1800’s scientists around the world were conducting research on the chemical reactions in the human body. Some organs, called glands, were secreting a substance which caused many reactions in the body. The adrenal gland, located above the kidneys, was highly notable because it could release chemicals into the body that raised blood pressure and made the heart beat faster. In 1901, Japanese chemist Dr. Jokichi Takamine discovered what chemicals made this secretion, and recreated them in the lab as adrenalin. The drug is now used successfully in surgeries and in the treatment of asthma and certain allergic reactions.
Modern Rocket (1926) - U.S.A.
Going to the Moon? You will need a rocket powerful enough to push 10 million pounds into space! People have been expirementing with the power of fire for a long time. As early as 1232, people in China were playing with fireworks and gun powder and by the 1300’s the Chinese “arrows of flying fire” were found across the Middle East and Europe. In 1903, Russian Konstantin E. Tsiolkovsky published a rocket theory (which included a liquid-propellant). However, it took until 1926 before the modern rocket was first launched by American scientist Robert H. Goddard, using a liquid fuel to power a rocket that traveled 41 feet into the air.
Raman Effect (1928) - India
Light is constant and doesn't change, as Einstein proved, but Raman's discovery gives an exception to the rule. When light passes through a liquid or a gas, much of the light beam passes straight though the matter, but, some of the light is bounced off to the side. Indian scientist, Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman, studied these scattered beams of light and found that some of the scattered light had an energy level different from that of the original beam. Raman explained that this change occurred when light particles, called photons, hit the molecules in the liquid or gas and reflected in a different direction. The Raman effect is very weak, only 1/100,000th of the beam is affected when passing through a liquid and even less for a gas.
Polio Vaccine (1955) - U.S.A.
The discovery of vaccines, a way to prevent diseases from infecting people, was a major breakthrough in medicine. It offers the possibility of stopping a virus world-wide. Before the vaccine was discovered, the polio virus was a serious problem affecting the body’s nervous system and its ability to control movement. In 1952, The United States had a record 57,000 cases; over half of the cases lead to paralysis. Our 32nd president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, suffered from the disease. Jonas Salk was the first person to produce a vaccine. He used a dead virus that was incapable of producing the disease but could induce antibodies to help a person become immune to the disease. An alternative method, created in 1959, used a weakened live vaccine. Both vaccines are still very important in taming the threat of polio. While an area is plagued by polio outbreaks, the live vaccine is more helpful. However, once an area is polio-free, the live vaccine is too dangerous, and doctors use the ‘dead virus-vaccine’ to keep people safe from any future outbreaks.
Heart Transplant (1967) - South Africa
Many lives have been saved through this important advancement in science. Nearly 40 years after the first heart transplant it is still a wonder that such a difficult operation is possible. The first human heart transplant operation was completed by surgeon Christiaan Barnard at the Groote Schuur Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa in 1967. He removed the heart from a young woman who had just died from a car accident and put it into an incurably sick 55 year old man, Louis Washkansky. Although the operation was successful, Washkansky died 18 days after the surgery of pneumonia, an illness he was unable to fight off since his body's immunity system was suppressed to avoid rejection of the new heart as a foreign object. It took a number of years for doctors to learn how to help their patients’ bodies not reject the new hearts. Today over 2,200 successful heart transplants are performed each year.
Green Belt Movement (1977) - Kenya
Protecting the environment not only helps change the future, but it also can help protect human rights and promote world peace. This environmental conservation movement began in 1977 due to the work of professor Wangari Maathai and the National Council of Women in Kenya (MYWO). Dr. Maathai received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2004 for her work with the Green Belt Movement. What began as a tree-planting program, today empowers African women to develop skills such as forestry, food processing, and bee-keeping which help preserve the natural environment. The movement encourages women to plant trees which helps combat soil erosion, deforestation and provides a source of future fuel. Since its development, the Green Belt Movement has helped plant over 40 million trees and train over 30,000 women and their families to stand up for their rights and live healthier, more productive lives.
Bionic ear (Cochlear Implant) (1978) - Australia
The cochlear implant is one of many ways that scientists use computer technology to aid human biological functioning. The cochlear implant allows children and adults with a total absence of hearing or with severely damaged hearing to perceive sound and volume. An implant does not restore normal hea ring, but it can mimic sounds in the environment and help the person understand speech. The implant turns sound into electrical impulses and sends them to the brain. As early as 1790, scientists started to develop the theoretical underpinnings of cochlear implants. But it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the first implants were produced and tested. In 1961 American doctor William House implanted devices into three patients. Then in 1969 House created the first wearable cochlear implant. Scientists continued to develop implants that could operate on different frequencies or channels to help mimic different sounds. Finally, in 1978 Rod Saunders became the first person to wear and use a modern multi-channel cochlear implant.
Acknowledgements: This exhibit is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. IIS-0238261, CHE-0524661, IIS-0534909 and IIS-0715303, the James S. McDonnell Foundation; Thomson Reuters; the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, University Information Technology Services, and the School of Library and Information Science, all three at Indiana University. Some of the data used to generate the science maps is from the Web of Science by Thomson Reuters and Scopus by Elsevier. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.