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Energy and the Human Journey: Where We Have Been; …
By the 1850s, Germany was , and seminal discoveries and achievements came from German labs. As agriculture became industrialized, two nutrients were identified as key limiting resources as per : phosphorous and . Until 1909, humanity’s source of nitrogen for agriculture was manure. Guano was even the main source of nitrate for gunpowder when World War I began in 1914. After a century of failure by many eminent chemists, in 1909 made one of history’s most momentous breakthroughs when he . That energy-intensive process is responsible for half of humanity’s food supply today. It is also partly responsible for a great deal of water pollution, , and proliferation of weaponry. Haber has also been called the father of chemical warfare, as he was instrumental in , but he nevertheless won his Nobel Prize in 1918 for his nitrogen breakthrough. Phosphorus, which forms the , is the sole element that humanity has not found a substitute for in industrial civilization. Energy makes nitrogen and other elements more available or allows for substitution, while phosphorous must be mined or recycled. German chemical wizardry continued after World War I, and Germany was the center of science in the early 20th century. Relativity and quantum theory, the two pillars of today’s physics, were developed in Germanic nations, and Einstein, , , , , , and dominated physics in the early 20th century, with relatively minor contributions from American, British, and French scientists. From the first Nobel prizes awarded in 1901 to the rise of Nazi Germany in 1933, more than a third of the awards in and went to Germans, and if the Swiss, Dutch, Austrian, Danish, and Swedish laureates are added, they amount to well more than half, particularly for their theoretical work.
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John Rockefeller was a , and in 1887 he . The University of Chicago subsequently became the . By the 1870s, the science of energy had developed greatly from the previous century, when fire was thought to be caused by , but economics entered its from which it has yet to emerge. It competed with for much of the 20th century, and neoclassical economics reached its triumphant phase with the . Chicago School economists were the , but the school has recently been in the first decade of the 21st century.