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  Science in the palm of your hand

Scientific ideas and the technologies they inspire are not exclusive couples; one scientific idea may be associated with many different technologies and one technological gadget frequently relies on a multitude of scientific ideas. For example, the next time you pick up a cell phone to make a call, stop for a moment to consider all the different scientific ideas wrapped up in that tiny package in the palm of your hand.

Click on the dots on the cell phone below to get an introduction to the sometimes strange science behind our everyday technologies.

text only version

  • Science often fuels technological advances.

  • A single new technology general relies on many different scientific ideas.


Cell phone photo by David Smith; Bakelizer photo © National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution; Hertz transmitter and detector, and Voltaic pile photos courtesy of John Jenkins, www.sparkmuseum.com; liquid crystal image courtesy of Dr. Oleg D. Lavrentovich, Liquid Crystal Institute and Chemical Physics Interdisciplinary Program, Kent State University; bell-in-a-vacuum image from Boyle, R. 1660. New Experiments Physico-Mechanical, Touching the Spring of Air and Its Effects. Oxford.

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