Technology is the practical use of science, including the making, modification or improvement, applied activity or behavior, use and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems, methods of organization, or environmental modifications or arrangement in order to solve a problem, improve a preexisting solution to a problem, achieve a goal or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, modifications, environmental arrangement and procedures. Technologies significantly affect human as well as other animal species' ability to control and adapt to their natural environments. The word technology comes from Greek τεχνολογία (technología); from τέχνη (téchnē), meaning "art, skill, craft", and -λογία (-logía), meaning "study of-". The term can be applied either generally or to many specific areas, examples of which include construction technology, medical technology and information technology.
The human species' use of technology began with the conversion of natural resources into simple tools. The prehistorical discovery of the ability to control fire increased the available sources of food and the invention of the wheel helped humans in travelling in and controlling their environment. Recent technological developments, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale. However, not all technology has been used for peaceful purposes; the development of weapons of ever-increasing destructive power has progressed throughout history, from clubs to nuclear weapons.
Technology has affected society and its surroundings in a number of ways. In many societies, technology has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products, known as pollution, and deplete natural resources, to the detriment of the Earth and its environment. Various implementations of technology influence the values of a society and new technology often raises new ethical questions. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, a term originally applied only to machines, and the challenge of traditional norms.
Philosophical debates have arisen over the present and future use of technology in society, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar movements criticise the pervasiveness of technology in the modern world, opining that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition. Indeed, until recently, it was believed that the development of technology was restricted only to human beings, but recent scientific studies indicate that other primates and certain dolphin communities have developed simple tools and learned to pass their knowledge to other generations.
The Astrophysics Data System
is an online NASA
database of over 7,000,000 astronomy
papers from both peer reviewed
and non-peer reviewed sources. Abstracts
are available free online for almost all articles, and full scanned articles are available in GIF
format for older articles. New articles have links to electronic versions hosted at the journal's webpage, but these are typically available only by subscription (which most astronomy research facilities have). It is managed by the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
. ADS is an extremely powerful research tool, and has had a significant impact on the efficiency of astronomical research since it was launched in 1992. Literature searches which previously would have taken days or weeks can now be carried out in seconds via the sophisticated ADS search engine, which is custom-built for astronomical needs. Studies have found that the benefit to astronomy of the ADS is equivalent to several hundred million US dollars
annually, and the system is estimated to have tripled the readership of astronomical journals
. Use of ADS is almost universal among astronomers worldwide, and therefore ADS usage statistics can be used to analyze global trends in astronomical research.
Template:/box-header Template:/Selected anniversaries/August
Joseph Francis Shea
(1926–1999) was an aerospace engineer and NASA
manager. Born in the Bronx
, New York
, he was educated at the University of Michigan
, receiving a Ph.D. in Engineering Mechanics
in 1955. After working for Bell Labs
on the radio inertial guidance system
of the Titan I intercontinental ballistic missile
, he was hired by NASA in 1961. As Deputy Director of NASA's Office of Manned Space Flight, and later as head of the Apollo Spacecraft Program Office, Shea played a key role in shaping the course of the Apollo program
, helping to lead NASA to the decision in favor of lunar orbit rendezvous
and supporting "all up" testing of the Saturn V
rocket. While sometimes causing controversy within the agency, Shea was remembered by his former colleague George Mueller
as "one of the greatest systems engineers of our time". Deeply involved in the investigation of the Apollo 1
fire, Shea suffered a nervous breakdown as a result of the stress that he suffered. He was removed from his position and left NASA shortly afterwards. From 1968 until 1990 he worked as a senior manager at Raytheon
in Lexington, Massachusetts
, and thereafter became an adjunct professor of aeronautics and astronautics at MIT
. While Shea served as a consultant for NASA on the redesign of the International Space Station
in 1993, he was forced to resign from the position due to health issues.
- Parent project
- Related projects