Dr. Alexander Fleming returned from a holiday in 1928 and looked through petri dishes he had left behind containing staphylococcus. He noticed one area where mold was growing in the staphylococcus, and this mold was the first discovered penicillin. Penicillin was then successfully made safely usable by a team from Oxford University. Penicillin has been used to treat bacterial infections since 1941. It is estimated to have saved between 80 and 200 million lives.
Alan Turing invented the concept of ‘the Turing machine’, which could compute algorithms through logical systems. It functioned similarly to a calculator. Many improved upon the ideas Turing developed to create the modern computer. The modern computer changed the world and created a myriad of new industries worth trillions in value. In 2020, $166.6 billion were spent worldwide on laptops and desktop PC’s.
3. Earned Income Tax Credit:
EITC (Earned Income Tax Credit) is an important part of the tax code in the United States. This credit helps low-income people, primarily families with children. To be eligible for the EITC, a taxpayer must be working at least part of every year they receive the credit. The estimated effects of EITC in 2018 were that 5.6 million people were lifted out of poverty including close to 3 million children. Combined with the Child Tax Credit, in that same year, 5.5 million children were lifted out of poverty along with 5.1 million adults
ARPAnet developed the first computer-to-computer connections in the late 1960’s. Robert Khan and Vint Cerf together designed TCP/IP protocols, which allowed various computer networks to communicate with each other, like a small scale Internet. Use of this system began on New Year’s Day 1983. Tim Burners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1990. This allowed access to websites and the Internet took hold and spread from there. There are estimates that suggest the average Internet user will spend over 3 hours a day online.
5. The Green Revolution:
Norman Borlaug researched and developed higher yielding and disease resistant wheat in Mexico in the 1940’s. The innovation spread across Mexico and, by the year 1960, Mexico became an exporter of wheat due to its abundance. A large component of the Green Revolution revolved around using seeds with superior genetics. The Green Revolution helped to avoid famine in developing countries, such as India and Pakistan, which experienced population booms; the Green Revolution is estimated to have saved 600 million lives.
6. Mobile Phones:
Motorola released the first cellular mobile phone in 1973 and mobile phone use has grown ever since. Mobile phones are so useful for communication that between ages 18-49 the portion of people in the USA who own a cellphone is near 100 percent. Mobile phones have also led to the creation of mobile banking which has had a massive impact in developing countries. In countries such as Kenya, where banks are hard to access, mobile banking helped revolutionize the method through which individuals transfer money. Through M-Pesa, a mobile banking company, the percentage of Kenyans with a bank account went from 8 to 72 percent, which led to an estimated 14 percent growth in real income.
7. Polio Vaccine:
Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first effective polio vaccine in 1953. It was found to be 80-90 percent effective against paralytic polio. In 1988 the World Health Assembly voted to launch a global polio eradication program. From the years 1988-2000 there was a 99 percent reduction in polio cases, and the polio vaccine saved an estimated 650,000 lives. In addition, an estimated 10 million cases of paralysis were prevented.