Please humour me for a minute by Googling “Printing Press.”
Johannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg is such a superstar, isn’t he? And, though a rich goldsmith already, he actually had to borrow enough cash to bring his crazy idea to fruition. That idea being the Gutenberg printing press. And, boy, did he change the world or what?
And then there was that little thing called electricity which, first discovered in Greece 600 years before Christ, by rubbing fur on amber to create static electricity, was still thought of as a force without any kind of real use by the time Alessandro Volta, (1745–1827), created a crude battery for storing the stuff in! But we all know how electricity became rather popular, don’t we? :-)
And the Net … Well, it started as a way of manifesting the idea of a “world wireless system” originally conceived by Nikola Tesla in the 1900’s … and then Paul Otlet and Vannevar Bush, (who imagined sharing searchable books and media in the 1930’s) … and then by J.C.R. Licklider, who thought of an intergalactic network in the 60’s … till Sir Tim Berners-Lee took hold of a “packet switching” concept of transmitting electronic data funded by ARPANET, the U.S. Department of Defence, by making sure EVERYBODY should use the disciplined method he had designed and promoted to access it.
That was the real genius of Tim Berners-Lee. He realised everyone should be on the same page when developing the internet. Otherwise the net could have ended up a Betamax versus VHS affair with different companies inventing different, confusing, opposing versions.
Why this pre-amble down memory lane? Because, as I have outlined, many of the profound inventions and discoveries manifest by an inquisitive humanity, have not always, immediately, broadcast their benefits or advantages … needing either further imagination or further innovative, cerebral, investment to be poured into them before the real, true benefit of their unique characteristics are realised.
If you crush the graphite lead in a pencil and pick up the dust with sticky cellotape, you pick up a layer of the thinnest, known, material on earth!
And when scientists chose to examine that material, they discovered graphite can exist ONE ATOM thick! (Graphite one atom thick becomes GRAPHENE). Furthermore, being a single layer (monolayer) of carbon atoms, tightly bound in a hexagonal honeycomb lattice, it is 200 times stronger than steel, conductive to electricity and able to be connected together like Lego … and humans have an opportunity to manipulate and use it!
We’re at the year 1440 stage of Guttenburg inventing the printing press – but look what happened. We’re at the year 1800 stage of where electricity was … but look what happened. We’re ar the 1900 stage of where the internet was … but look what happened.
With graphene, we can, (one day), build machines to swim inside our veins doing maintenance work OR build an electronic brain better,more efficient than our own. :-)
The following sounds crazy, (to us today), but graphene structures, once perfected and manufactured, mean that the idea of a SPACE ELEVATOR, (A self supporting structure 80.4km or 50 miles high), becomes a viable way of putting objects into low earth orbit without requiring 500,000 gallons, (or whatever), in fuel.
I just don’t know the profound effects graphene technology will yet bring us just as Gutenburg, Tesla, Volta and the like could never have comprehended how the printing press, electricity or the internet would have transformed the human race but Graphene will be just as transformative to humanity.
Your thoughts? And your thoughts on those able to see further than most of humanity?