Scientists’ Inventions Created in World War i and World War II

Through human history, war has always developed new technologies that are advancements outside of war. World War I and World War II were the most influential periods in human history in terms of technological improvement. When Marie Curie created the x-ray she created one of the most important recent medical advancements. When Lewis Nixon invented sonar he allowed submarines to have a system of navigation underwater. When Fritz Haber introduced poison gas to the world he brought warfare into the modern age. With the creation of penicillin, Alexander Fleming helped revolutionize medicine. Robert Watson innovating radar made it possible to detect objects in the air. The atomic bomb also brought warfare into the modern age and shaped modern international politics. There were many inventions created by scientists in World War I and World War II that impacted each war significantly, such as advances in health care, technology, and weaponry.

Marie Curie grew up in Warsaw in Russian occupied Poland. Marie Curie was an excellent student, but Marie faced some challenges that discourage her from studying. As a woman during the 19th century, it was difficult for her to get a education. Therefore, Marie enrolled in the Floating University, which was a secret institution that provided education to Polish youth, along with her sister. Marie had saved her money by working as a tutor. Then Marie eventually moved to Paris and earned both physics and mathematics degree.

There Marie met her husband Pierre Curie, a French physicist, who ended up becoming her lab partner. In 1896, Marie discovered that uranium spontaneously emitted mysterious X-ray-like radiation that could interact with a photographic film. This discovery was very important because it meant that the strength of the radiation depended completely on the element’s quantity and was not affected by physical or chemical changes.( Davis 1) This theory helped to disprove the Long-Standing Model of atoms as indivisible objects. In 1898, Marie Curie and Pierre Curie found two new elements polonium and radium by researching pitchblende.

Before Marie Curie discovered x-rays, broken bones, the location of the bullets, and internal damage were treated by doctors best guess and less technological treatments. However, Marie changed the landscape of medical research and treatments when the world war I began. For example, Marie cured thousands of soldiers at a battlefront by starting mobile radiology units during World War I to examine radiation’s effect on tumors and trained many doctors who were in charge of the treatment. X-Ray saved millions of soldiers life, because made it easier for the doctors to locate broken bones and to remove bullets from the soldiers’ bodies. Today, X-ray is used to kill cancer cells, broken bones, radiation therapy, airport security, and revealing counterfeit art.

The British used their submarines for patrols and support the surface fleet. In the other hand, the Germans used their submarines, u-boats, to attack the British merchant ships and battleships. U-boats clearly gave the Germans its one truly effective naval weapon during World War I. For instance, in September 1914, three British battleships were sunk by one German u-boat in one day. U-boats showed its murderous potential because the u-boats were able to sneak up on its target without being seen. These surprise raids displayed an illegal and diplomatic problem. Under international law at that time, an attacking warship of any side was first required to stop a merchant ship and inspect its cargo. If cargo was found to be assisting the enemy side then the attacker was expected to allow the merchant crew to leave their ship safely. Yet, the German u-boat commanders did not stop.

Instead, the German u-boat commanders began to bend the rules, first by sinking merchant ships without warning than claiming that their targets were carrying military weapons. In addition, the Germans convinced the world that they were sticking to international law. (U-boats 1) The Allies were desperate to find a solution to stop the German u-boats. It was Lewis Nixon who designed the very first Sonar type listening device. This rescuer, Lewis Nixon, was born on April 7, 1861, in Leesburg, Virginia. Lewis Nixon graduated from the United States Naval Academy. Then went to the Royal Naval College to study naval architecture. There he started developing sonar, which is a method that is used to locate and identify objects underwater through sound waves. At first, sonar was created as a way of detecting icebergs.

By 1918, Britain and the United States had developed sonar that could send signals out and receive sound signals back. To put sonar to the test Lewis attached sonar on a naval vessel. Fortunately, sonar was able to send ‘ping’ sound around its surroundings underwater and receive sound off the objects nearby. (Vergara 1)therefore, in World War I, sonar was used for finding U-boats and underwater mines.U-boats not only killed innocent traveling merchants but started the age of unrestricted warfare. Today sonar is used as a defense, Bathymetric Studies, Pipeline inspections, offshore wind turbines, detecting explosive dangers underwater, search and rescue missions, underwater communication. (CoreEL 1)

Fritz Haber, an undisputed genius, born on December 9, 1868, in Wroclaw, Poland. He was raised in a strict Jewish family. From an early age Haber was exceptionally good at the sciences, so he found his major in the field of physical chemistry. In 1913 with the help of a German chemist, Carl Bosh, Fritz created Haber-Bosch Process. Haber was appointed as the director of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute for Physical chemistry and electrochemistry in 1911. When the war started, Haber was recruited as the head of Germany’s gas warfare division. Fritz dropped everything for this golden opportunity.

Fritz created a gaseous compound to harm or kill human beings. Fritz initially came up with an acid substance called Xylyl bromide. However, Xylyl bromide froze too easily and was worthless in battles. Fritz then came up with a new substance called chlorine. (Stoltzenberg 75) Fritz’s poison gas’s first action, the first large-scale gas attack in military history, was on April 22, 1915, in Belgium. Germans attacked French, Canadian and Algerian troops with more than 150 tons of the poisonous gas. This battle gave Fritz confidence with his invention because the chlorine gas proved to be horribly effective resulting in more than 10,000 injuries and deaths. To be specific, many soldiers died in a painful way, because fluids built up in their lungs. Fritz other inventions included mustard gas and a gas mask. Mustard gas was more effective than the chlorine gas because it was heavy and could settle in the enemies’ trenches.

Inventing a gas mask for German troops was crucial because the allies started to use chemical weapons as well. In today’s world, scientists use the Haber-Bosch Process as a fertilizer. Ammonia can be converted into nitric acid, a key ingredient for explosives, but it can also be made to produce fertilizer. Fritz Haber accidentally saved more lives than anyone in human history. What Fritz intended to be a deadly weapon, unexpectedly turn out to be one of the important discoveries ever being created. To be precise, half or nearly third of the world population depends on the Haber-Bosch Process fertilizer today. (IChemE 1)Fritz was rewarded with the Nobel prize for chemistry for improving the standards of agriculture and well-being of mankind in 1918.

In 1914 Europe was involved in bloody trench warfare where soldiers in all sides were attacked with automatic rifles, mustard gas, artillery fire, and various newly developed weapons. However, the biggest cause of death was infection. Countless wounded soldiers were on the field hospitals desperate for treatment. (Bradford 1) Inexperienced doctors and nurses were working day and night to fight against the inevitable death these young brave soldiers faced. These doctor’s only defense was antiseptic, which was proved to be useless because the effects were the same to the patients as no treatment was used.

Soldiers were extremely lucky to survive from even the slightest cuts or injuries from the battle. Alexander Fleming was soon to rescue the wounded from the battles. Fleming dedicated his life to understand in fighting against infections. Fleming was born in Ayrshire Scotland to a farming family. Fleming performed well at school. Fleming moved to London to attend the Royal Polytechnic School. Fleming ended up training in St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School. Fleming became assistant bacteriologist and took up the research position under his professor in the immunology department. When the Brtish joined World War I.

Fleming was forced to be sent to the front line treating wounded soldiers. When Fleming returned from his service, he began to study the effects of antiseptics. After Fleming returned from a month-long holiday, Fleming found a petri dish in his lab that all the bacteria had died where the mold was growing. Within a few months, Fleming managed to grow pure samples of the fungus and extracted a mold juice. This mold juice could kill off many various bacteria. (AFD and D of P 1)Penicillin, first antibiotic or bacterial killer, helped tremendously throughout World War II by saving millions of people. Flemings pioneered one of the most influential medical discoveries of the 20th-century.

The myth that “Einstein flunked at math” is not entirely accurate. Although,Albert had a learning disability, Albert had mastered calculus on his own by the age of fifteen. This genius, Albert Einstein, was born on 14 March 1879 in Ulm, Germany. Albert Einstein performed well at both his Swiss Polytechnic and at the Munich secondary school. But skipping classes to spend more time in the lab and showing little respect for his professors created a complex problem for his intended career path. Therefore, Albert had to settle for a job at the Swiss patent office with the help of a friend’s father. Although Albert had to work six days a week, Albert still managed to make some time for physics.

Albert discussed the latest work with a few close friends and publishing a couple of minor papers. In 1905 Albert Einstein published four extraordinary papers known as the Annus Mirabilis papers, each on a different topic such as time, mass, space, and energy, that was designed to completely change our understanding of the universe. (Rhodes 443) The last and fourth paper of the Annuus Mirabilis, Einstein implied that mass and energy, solid and the other ethereal, were actually equivalent. with this relationship, Einstein was able to formulate what was to become the most famous and consequential equation in history E=mc^2. The Relativity Theory,E=mc^2, helped to develop the atomic bomb known as the Manhattan project.

Although Albert Einstein wrote a letter to warn that the use of the atomic bomb will bring a disastrous result, President Harry S. Truman believed that more lives will be lost if they attempted to invade Japan to surrender. Therefore, President Harry S. Truman ordered to use the new weapon, the atomic bomb, to bring the war to end the war faster. ‘Truman has been told that an invasion of the Japanese mainland would cost 500,000 to 1 million American lives. The argument for the bomb is that it could shock Japan’s government into an unconditional surrender, which the U.S. government demands.'( Ramsey 1) The result of the atomic bomb was deadly just as Albert Einstein has predicted. Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings in 1945 killed 200,000 people immediately and the long term effects resulted in more death. Some of the long term effects included, Leukemia, birth complication, Cataracts, and negative effects on the environment. The use of the atomic bomb ended the world war I, but started the cold war in return.

Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Watt was born on April 13, 1892, in Brechin, United Kingdom. Watson attended the University of St. Andrews.In the beginning, Watson started as a meteorologist working on devices for locating thunderstorms. Watson had learned that radio waves can be used to detect and locate aircraft. After months of experiments he invented radar also known as radio detection and ranging. Radar was used for both military and civilian purposes. (How the Brain Learns Best)

In conclusion, I believe that Marie Curie’s invention, X-ray, had the most impact on the world. X-rays are used regularly for a variety of reasons daily. For instance, X-rays are used to remove cancer cells, broken bones, radiation treatment, airport safety, and exposing counterfeit art. Although Marie achieved many accomplishments her journey was not always smooth. Marie Curie had to deal with an invisible barrier, gender discrimination, that discouraged her from studying. Marie not only shocked the world with her creativity but also encouraged many other women to reach their dreams.

For example, Marie won the Nobel prize for chemistry in1902 making Marie the first female Nobel Laureate, becoming the school’s first female professor, in 1911 Marie won the Nobel Prize for chemistry becoming the only person to win Nobel Prizes in two different sciences. For these reasons, I believe that Marie had the most influence both on and off the war. The outcome of Marie Curie, Lewis Nixon, Fritz Habor, Alexander Fleming, Robert Watson, and Albert Einstein’s revolutionary research set the groundwork for our understanding of physics, chemistry, technology, medicine, and nuclear physics. Carl Sagan puts it like this “Advances in medicine and agriculture have saved vastly more lives than the lives that have been lost in all the wars in history.” (Carl Sagan). 

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