Chapter 30 Scientific and Technological Improvements



A DDT advertisement
A DDT advertisement
Medicine

American Scientists in this time period proved to be very effective in medical improvements. There largest advancement was, of course, antibiotics. Since human testing of Penicillin in 1941, more antibiotics were tested and mass produced. Another improvement was the evident progress in immunization. The first one was the small pox vaccine, followed by typhoid, and tetanus. Next, a vaccine referred to as BCG was known to defeat tuberculosis. However, there was a controversy over the safety of BCG and so its adoption was hindered. Viruses (except for small pox) proved to be more of a problem than bacterial infections. Scientists did discover how to produce a form of a specific virus incapable of transferring the disease but capable of triggering and, in a way, allowing the antibodies to practice defeating the virus. Vaccines for yellow fever and influenza were produced this way. One of the greatest postwar medical triumphs was a polio vaccine, entitled the salk vaccine (after the man who created it). Later, some of these vaccines were made simpler through newer and more improved ways of placing the vaccine inside the human body. All of these advances proved to decrease the infant mortality and death rate in America and other nations.

Pesticides
Scientist hoped that improvements in this area would allow healthy plant growth that would not carry diseases such as typhus and malaria. The most famous of the ones formed in this era is called dichlorophenyltrichlorethane, more commonly known as DDT (for obvious reasons). It was, supposedly, not harmful to humans and animals, but quite deathly to insects. Later, after its large use in Italy during a typhus outbreak, it proved to show long-term toxic effects on animals and humans.

Electronics
A 1950s Television
A 1950s Television

There were a plethora of improvements in electronics. The first commercially viable televisions and technology that allowed larger broadcasting areas were produced in this era. Most famous is the color television. Transistors were also invented (they amplified electrical signals and made possible the improvements in other inventions such as: radios, televisions, audio equipment, and hearing aids). Integrated circuits were also produced. These combined transistors, resistors, diodes, and others which allowed for more complex inventions.

Computers
Computers were originally created to assist in mathematical problems solely. In the 1950s, people, business specifically, began to realize that they could be used for more than math. The first significant computer in 1950s was called the Universal Automatic Computer (UNIVAC). It was the first computer that had the skills of both numerical and alphabetical information. It was used to predict the 1952 elections for CBS television news.

The explosion of a Hydrogen Bomb
The explosion of a Hydrogen Bomb
Bombs, Rockets, and Missiles

The first hydrogen bomb (or H-bomb) was detonated by America in 1952. This terrible nuclear bomb gets its power from fusion (the combining of lighter and heavier atomic elements). It is much more powerful than its predecessers who used fission (the splitting of atoms) to gain enough power to detonate. This invention led to more work on producing unmanned rockets and missiles capable of transferring the weapons to their destinations. The United States gained help from German Scientists who had emigrated to America during World War II. The arms race that was the Cold War was based upon Russian and American strive for better equipment. Intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were on the top of both nations "to-do" lists. These were capable of travelling through space to distant targets. In 1958, after discovering that liquid fuel would not suffice, scientists formed a solid fuel for their missiles and rockets that replaced what they had previously used. A new generation of missiles, known as the Minuteman, was produced and became the basis for the American atomic weapon arsenal. American Scientists also invented an "underwater nuclear missile" known as the Polaris.

SPACE
Sputnik
Sputnik

The beginnings of the space program in America is clearly the Soviet's production of //Sputnik//. Terrified, the United States retalliated with a satellite of their own, called Explorer 1. However, the US had set its mind on defeating the Soviet Union and so...manned space programs became a necessity. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) was formed. Quickly, they became the nations heroes. The Mercury Project came first. This project intended to send a man into space to orbit the Earth. Alan Shepard was the first American man launched into space, but it was after the Soviet "cosmonaut" Yuri Gagarin had orbited the entire Earth. John Glenn became the first American man to orbit the entire Earth. Later, NASA introduced the Gemini program which could carry two people into space at once. After Mercury and Gemini came the most famous Apollo program whose purpose was to land on the moon. This
US Landing on the Moon in Apollo 11
US Landing on the Moon in Apollo 11
was the most terrifying experimentation, mostly because of problems with the capsule on the launch pad that cost three austronauts their lives and the Apollo 13 incident. However, on July 20th, 1969, Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins successfully travelled and landed on the moon. Six more missions followed, but soon after the government began to cut funding for the space projects. The space program turned from manned ships landing on planets to improving near space travel with the "space shuttle," an airplane-like device launched by a missile but capable of navigating and landing on Earth's surface. The first space shuttle was launched in 1982, but the explosion of the Challenger in 1986 that killed seven astronauts stalled the program. Later, it was resumed due to commercial purposes. The space shuttle repaired communications satellites and inserted the Hubble Space Program Telescope into orbit.

Sources
THE TEXT BOOK
http://www.mindfully.org/Pesticide/DDT-Household-Pests-USDA-Mar47.htm
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