5 People You Should Probably Know About
We’ve all hear of Einstein, Edison, and Erasmus, but who are the unsung heroes that have changed the world? Every day there are individuals that are pioneering the future of their relative industries, and it is time we gave them some credit.
When we think of prolific inventors Da Vinci and Edison are two names that quickly come to mind. However, there is one man who has surpassed both of them and he is still alive today. His name is Kia Silverbrook and he currently holds approximately 5,000 patents and patent applications across the world.
Although he didn’t invent the light bulb or the helicopter, he has invented many useful devices that are revolutionising an array of industries. For example, he has made numerous inventions in the fields of digital printing, medical diagnosis, solar power, 3D printing, robotics, cryptography, semiconductor fabrication, and much more. All this work has played a crucial role in the technological revolution we have experienced in the last 50 years.
Known as ‘The White Mouse’, Nancy Wake was a secret agent who operated throughout the duration of WWII and was one of the Allies’ most decorated servicewomen (which included receiving the American Medal of Freedom). She’s also a badass - she reportedly killed a man with her bare hands to prevent raising the alarm and getting caught. Her reputation for running rings around the Gestapo resulted in her topping the Gestapo’s most wanted list.
Furthermore, she successfully transported over a thousand escaped prisoners of war from France to Spain, led 7000 troops in Guerrilla warfare, rode 71 hours straight to deliver wireless codes, and put men to shame due to her “very good and fast shot”.
A Greek mathematician, poet, astronomer, geographer, and music theorist; there was little this man could not do. This man loved learning so much he became the chief librarian at the Library of Alexandria, which contained a good chunk of the world’s knowledge before it was destroyed in 48BC.
If you enjoy geography you can thank him as he invented and named the disciplined. His love of geography led him to calculate a number of unbelievable things, especially given the time he was alive. Namely, he calculated the tilt of earth’s axis to within one degree and the distance between earth and the sun with remarkable accuracy. However, perhaps his most astonishing computation was when he very accurately determined the circumference of the Earth without leaving his country.
How? Well, he noticed a shadow at one place at a particular time left no shadow but there was a shadow at the same time in a neighbouring town. He then measured the shadow’s angle in the first town, hired a slave to walk the distance to the other town, multiplied the distance by how many times the angle goes into 360 degrees and got his answer of 396,900km. We now know the circumference of the earth is 400, 075km.
Although the most famous female pilot of the early 20th century is often said to be Amelia Earhart, however, Amy Johnson’s success as a pilot very nearly surpasses her. Not only did she set a number of flying records, including becoming the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1940, but she was breaking records before Earhart had even began to fly. She later became the first pilot to fly from London to Moscow in one day.
The reason for her relative obscurity in relation to Earhart was funding. If Johnson had received the funding Earhart had – who received public support and funding due to her marriage to publishing tycoon George Putnam – there is little doubt she would have beaten her across the Atlantic and Pacific.
Have you ever had surgery and lived? (Well obviously if you’ve had surgery and can read this there is a good chance you are alive.) Joseph Lister is the man you need to thank. He discovered some revolutionary tricks for keeping patients alive and pioneered antiseptic surgery. The reason why doctors clean their hands, change their clothes, sterilise surgical equipment and clean wounds is almost entirely because of his work. Lister used Louis Pasteur’s ideas in microbiology to forward the idea that carbolic acid could be used as a surgical antiseptic; a discovery that led him to be known as the ‘father of modern surgery’.
Today, sadly, his name is almost forgotten.