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50 IDEAS WHICH CHANGED WORLD; From the home computer to TV dinners.. scientists have just chosen the inventions that have altered all our lives forever.


TV dinners have been named alongside the Internet and space travel as one of the 50 inventions that changed the world.

Scientists have compiled a list of the greatest scientific achievements over the last half-century to mark the Queen's Jubilee year.

The top 50 innovations and advancements in science, medicine and technology are set to be unveiled in a brand new exhibition called Jet Age To Genome.

Among the most life-changing inventions are the home computer, which came out in 1975, video recorders from 1976 and the first internet browser, which was available to buy in 1991.

The exhibition also includes inventions that never made the grade, such as the Betamax video, the Sinclair C5 concept vehicle and the Femidom, the condom for women.

A panel of six leading scientists helped choose the final 50 inventions.

As well as TV dinners, which first hit the shelves in 1954 and were made from surplus turkey, telly remote controls were also listed among the top 50 inventions.

The exhibition, which includes one invention from each year of the Queen's reign, will open this Saturday at Birmingham's Thinktank, a newly-opened museum of science and discovery.

Ruth Gill, the museum's director of content, said everything included in the display has had a huge effect on our day-to-day lives.

Ruth said: "The whole idea for the show was sparked by the Queen's Golden Jubilee. We wanted to show just how much our lives have been transformed in the 50 years she's been on the throne.

"The first fare-paying passenger jet, space travel and Dolly the sheep, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell, are all on the list.

"But there are also things that we use every day, such as the telly remote. Even more importantly, TV dinners - quick meals that you can eat on your lap - have changed family life forever.

"Gone are the days of the family sitting down for a home-made meal. People don't have time any more.

"And that is one recurring thing about the exhibition - a lot of the inventions included in the top 50 save us time."


1952 First fare-paying passengers in jet airliner called Comet

1953 Cinemascope

1954 TV dinner

1955 Non-stick saucepan

1956 TV remote control

1957 Sputnik escalates the space race and the Cold War. First living creature in space

1958 Ultrasonic image of foetus

1959 First Mini rolls off the production line

1960 Implanted pacemaker

1961 The Pill goes on sale in UK

1962 TV satellite relays live pictures

1963 Cassette tape and birth of portable music machines

1964 Home kidney dialysis

1965 Packet switching, essential for the Internet

1966 First whole-earth viewing weather (Weather satellite)

1967 Breathalyser first used on motorists

1968 First supersonic airliner (Soviet T-144) beats Concorde

1969 Astronauts take first steps on the Moon

1970 First watches with LCD displays

1971 CAT scan

1972 Pocket calculator

1973 Cars with air bags

1974 Barcodes on food products

1975 Birth of home computer

1976 VHS and Betamax

1977 Maiden voyage of space shuttle

1978 Birth of Louise Brown, baby conceived by IVF

1979 Xerox researchers demonstrate the graphical-user interface to Apple engineers

1980 Ghetto blaster and Sony Walkman

1981 CDs go on sale

1982 Video keyhole surgery

1983 Synthetic human insulin cleared for sale

1984 DNA fingerprint

1985 First registered dot com

1986 Laptop computer

1987 Prozac becomes available

1988 First internet worm unleashed. Disables 10 per cent of computers on the fledgling network

1989 First machine to be controlled over the Internet (toaster)

1990 First gene therapy takes place, on a four-year-old girl with an immune system disorder called ADA deficiency

1991 First Internet browser

1992 Mobile phone text message

1993 Global Positioning Satellites

1994 GM tomatoes

1995 First entirely computer-generated feature film (Toy Story)

1996 First ever "deep field" photographs of our universe, showing how the universe looked 10 billion years ago.

1997 Dolly the sheep, first mammal cloned from a adult cell

1998 First section of the international Space Station launched

1999 The world's first electronic, reusable paper

2000 Knock-out pigs (pigs with a gene removed). Early step to making transgenic pigs for xenotransplants.

2001 Bionic eye. Microchips inserted into the damaged retinas of three blind men, restoring their vision

And a contender for No.51... Iris scanner. Schipol airport, Amsterdam, becomes the first airport to install iris scanners in high-security areas
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Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jul 17, 2002
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