• Question: well what do you think the greatest invention ever made was...............................................?

    Asked by ruthie to Chris, Emily, Martin, Natalie, Tamsin on 24 Mar 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Martin Coath

      Martin Coath answered on 24 Mar 2010:

      Hi Ruthie

      That is a tough question. A really tough question! Am I only allowed one?

      OK I will choose the transistor. Oh dear – here I go being boring again 🙂

      Everything about our world depends on the transistor – a tiny bit of material so small you can now make thousands of them (millions of them) fit on a chip the size of fingernail.

      Computers, phones, satellites, space travel, TV, medical monitors and scanners … I could go on all night. The one invention that makes them all possible is the transistor.

      I won’t spoil it for you by giving you the history of the transistor – have a look at wikipedia!

    • Photo: Chris Cooper

      Chris Cooper answered on 24 Mar 2010:

      So many things to say.

      I think I am going to be boring and list a theory not a device. The double-blind randomised placebo controlled clinical trial. This is the ONLY way to tell whether a medical treatment works or not and has revolutionised medicine more than any X-ray machine or MRI scanner. It has saved countless lives and prevented many toxic drugs getting on the market. Until its invention (late 19th century) doctors in ALL countries killed more people than they cured. Now it is the opposite.

      And the greatest exponent of evidence-based medicine. Florence Nightingale. For some reason she is remembered as a lady with a lamp being nice to patients. in fact she was a gifted mathematician who analysed her hospital scientifically and revolutionised hospital services. But because she was a woman she is portrayed as just a “touchy feely” nurse rather than the great scientist she really was.