Technology Wizards

Technology Wizards

Behind every great invention, there’s a great mind working towards progress. From mobile technology medical inventions, these technology wizards have revolutionised the way we live.

Paul Lauterbur and Peter Mansfield’s invention - magnetic resonance imaging - has transformed almost every area of surgery, enabling doctors to see inside a patient’s body without cutting it open first.

MRI has totally changed neurosurgery, says Nirit Weiss, assistant professor of neurosurgery at Mouth Sinai School of Medicine in New York. If you open the skull and look at the brain, it looks like a blob - you can’t just look at it and see the different cell groups. But MRI has allowed us to visualise the brain’s structures so we have a map in our head of where to go and where to avoid.

Some revolutionaries were neglected by the scientific establishments of their time. For instance, Rosalind Franklin was excluded from sharing in the Nobel Prize for the discovery of the structure of DNA, despite her great contributions to the understanding of the molecular structures of DNA. In fact, she gave her life to the cause by exposing herself to massive amounts of radiation just to try to get the best possible X-ray photograph of a strand of DNA, which led her to die of cancer at the early age of 37. Her contribution made through the double helix provided the crucial evidence James Watson and Francis Crick needed to complete their model, and even so, neither scientist acknowledged her work when they received the Nobel Prize in 1962.

Another tech inventor that has changed the world is Tim Berners-Lee, credited with investing the World Wide Web in 1989. Upon designing and building the first Web browser, editor and server, he changed the way information is created and consumed.

Bill Gates also revolutionised the world today. He had an early interest in software and began programming computers at the age of thirteen. Later on, he founded Microsoft which became famous for their computer operating systems and killer business deals.

I choose a lazy person to do a hard job because a lazy person will find an easy way to do it, Bill Gates said, in reference to the popular belief that inventors are lazy people who find a way to make their lives easier. He also once said, I failed in some subjects in exam, but my friend passed in all. Now he is an engineer in Microsoft and I am the owner of Microsoft. He has also been quoted saying: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

Still in the field of computers, Jack Kilby and Robert Noyce independently invented the single integrated circuit - the microchip - in 1959. This invention powered through the greatest obstacle to fast and more powerful computers. The microchip sparked a revolution in technological miniaturisation. Although Kilby was the one awarded with the Nobel Price, it was Noyce’s silicon-based chips that became popular, founded Intel in 1968, which is today the largest manufacturer of semiconductors. That year, Kilby also invented the personal calculator.

Filmmaker George Lucas revolutionised special effects in the movies by pioneering motion control camera techniques and spearheading the computer-generated imaging revolution in the 1980s. This revolution had its roots in Lucas‘ ILM (Industrial Light and Magic), which he founded in 1975 to bring his vision of Star Wars to life.

A special effect is a tool, a means of telling a story, Lucas said. A special effect without a story is a pretty boring thing.

He has also revealed that the secret to film is that it’s an illusion.

Many has wondered where he got the inspiration from to revolutionise the film industry, he has stated: As a kid, I read a lot of science fiction. But instead of reading technical, hard-science writers like Isaac Asimov, I was interested in Harry Harrison and a fantastic, surreal approach to the genre. I grew up on it. Star Wars is a sort of compilation of this stuff but it’s never been put in one story before, never put down on film. There is a lot taken from Westerns, mythology, and samurai movies. It’s all the things that are great put together. It’s not like one kind of ice cream but rather a very big sundae.