|1.||I want to present the nature and scope of past great inventions and show their importance to our modern lives.|
|2.||I want to place each of these specific inventions within the continuum of technological development. I want to show what came before and what came after each great invention.|
|3.||I want to clearly show students that the world around them is created by, and defined by, these master inventions that are woven into the fabric of our daily existence.|
|4.||I want to show the role of science and of the scientific process in the process of invention.|
But what is an invention? Where does invention stop and discovery start? Is there a dividing line between the two? When I was a seventh grader, I remember thinking that Isaac Newton invented gravity. And I wondered how people held onto the earth and how far they could throw a baseball before Newton invented gravity.
Then I learned that he didn’t invent gravity. It existed long before Newton or any other human set foot on the earth. You can’t invent something that already exists.
Then did Newton discover gravity? No again. Scientists had known about gravity for hundreds of years before Newton was born. To discover something, you have to be the first one to detect or become aware of the thing being discovered.
So, what did Newton do for gravity? Why do we associate his name with gravity? Newton invented mathematical expressions that accurately described gravity, and he in-