The 50 Greatest Breakthroughs Since The Wheel -- The Atlantic
Why did it take so long to invent the wheelbarrow? Have we hit peak innovation? What our list reveals about imagination, optimism, and the nature of progress.
Some questions you ask because you want the right answer. Others are valuable because no answer is right; the payoff comes from the range of attempts. Seven years ago, The Atlantic surveyed a group of eminent historians to create a ranked list of the 100 people who had done the most to shape the character of modern America. The panelists agreed easily on the top few names—Lincoln, Washington, Jefferson, in that order—but then began diverging in intriguing ways that reflected not simply their own values but also the varied avenues toward influence in our country. Lewis and Clark, or Henry Ford? Thomas Edison, or Martin Luther King? The result was of course not scientific. But the exercise of asking, comparing, and choosing helped us understand more about what these historical figures had done and about the areas in which American society had proved most and least open to the changes wrought by talented, determined men and women.
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CSN Editor: The list starts here. My beef with this list is that alphabetization is on it .... but 'numbers' did not make it.