Business & Tech Science

How Wars Drive Technological Advancement

“War is good for absolutely nothing.”-Edwin Starr. Many of the technologies we depend on today were results of war and military disciplines. All the way from the radar, and down to microwave ovens. As optimists say: everything happens for a reason.

Wars put enormous demand upon the resources of a nation. Those resources include everything from materials to military personnel. Apart from it being expensive, war places a burden upon a nation’s citizens. As soldiers march off to battle, the people left behind must work firmer to keep the nation’s infrastructure from collapsing. On the other hand, war also has beneficial effect on economic and technological development. Moreover, wars tend to accelerate technological development to adapt tools for fulfilling specific military needs. Later, these military tools may evolve into non-military devices.

While scientists around the world were working on using radio antennae to detect distant objects during the early part of the 20th century, we credit Sir Robert Watson-Watt for the invention of the first practical radar set in 1935; that is how the radar came to be. The British Air Ministry adopted his design and used it to detect aggressors during the early days of World War II. The radar became an important tool in militaries around the world. In return, the radar’s adoption required countries to adapt to more modern warfare strategies. It also prompted the United States to invest in research and development for new ways to confound the radar. The result of this was stealth aircraft technology.

On the civilian front, the radar played a different role. A scientist by the name of Percy L. Spencer made an interesting discovery while standing near a magnetron—a device that powers radar sets. Spencer had a chocolate bar in his pocket that would melt further and further as he got nearer to the magnetron. The desire for curiosity is only human nature, and as Spencer experimented further, he discovered the microwave oven.

The technological advances have always been quite a struggle for us. The technological force that pushed us forward is not as fast as the technological force that forces our specie to impulse through the limits, fighting and competing against the opposition. As devastating as some wars were and are, the technological advancements benefited from them were and still are considered incredibly valuable in our everyday lives.

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