5 Life-Changing Science Discoveries From the 1970s

Last week, I was trying to get home with my buddy from the greatest dinner ever at Chuy's. While I was planning for the perfect way to end my day to prepare for my midterm week as soon as I got home, my friend's car decided to stop working in the middle of a gas station. Okay, this is it, I thought. I was ready to send an email writing the perfect and honest excuse to skip my midterm the next day — until my friend found hundreds of videos about his car situation on his phone.

After skipping a thousand ads on the video and a few trials off re-starting the car in different ways, we finally got it to start working. What would've been a long night trying to stop strangers to see if they could help us start the car was saved by the help of a four-minute video. If the mobile phone were never invented, millions of people would probably be trapped at a gas station in the middle of the night. Along with the mobile phone, here are five other life-changing inventions from the 1970s:

  1. 1. Digital Camera

    In 1975, the first digital camera, weighing about eight pounds, was engineered by Eastman Kodak and Steve Sasson. Although other forms of cameras were available during and before, they were less accessible in the market. This first digital camera was the initial hope of other inventors to transcend this medium to cameras with shorter capture time and higher resolutions.

  2. 2. Electronic Calculator

    The first pocket calculator launched was the TI-2500 Datamath invented by Texas Instruments and the first lucky customers to have received these products were the Neiman-Marcus and the Sanger-Harris department stores. People also used these calculators to calculate their weekly expenses in the supermarket, and not long after, this trend shifted to school-children carrying these calculators in their backpacks to school.

  3. 3. Email

    There's no denying that the school and work environments of today's age rely on email as a form of formal communication. I recall the first time ever that my school back in Indonesia started using email as the primary form of communication regarding assignments, announcements or detention letters to parents (not that my parents received those). The frustration of relying so much on that pigeon to send your assignment before the 11:59 PM deadline was saved by Ray Tomlinson's invention in 1971 when he successfully sent himself an email as a test. 

  4. 4. Floppy Disks

    I can still recall the time when I had to use these thin mediums to store files from my piano lessons from the keyboard back in 2004. These disks were first invented by IBM with its purpose to transfer 1.44 MB of data, create backups and distribute software. Although people nowadays much prefer USB flash sticks, optical disks, and portable external hard drives, this type of old-fashioned disk storage is still used by the US government.

  5. 5. Sony Walkman

    Before the Sony Walkman was invented, listening to music would be impossible without getting into your car or going to a location that has music. Not to mention that you would have to force yourself to listen to music outside of your taste. But since the first-ever portable Sony Walkman entered the market in 1979, people now listen to music of their own taste wherever and whenever.

The progress that science has made from 49 years ago to today has definitely been remarkable. From heavy digital cameras to camera phones, floppy disks to flash drives, and the Sony Walkman to music apps in our phones, there is now a shorter list of problems that the human race cannot solve as time progresses. Therefore, my greatest hope for the future of our generation is to pique our interests, seek a solution to solve every problem and — most importantly — build on our ideas before another great mind drops out of college and sells them to the market. 

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