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Surprisingly although they were aware of its magnetic properties, neither the Greeks nor the Romans seem to have discovered its directive property. D., the somewhat unscientific Roman chronicler of science Pliny the Elder, completed his celebrated series of books entitled "Natural History". The Greek philosopher and scientist, Thales of Miletus (624-546 B.

In it, he attributed the name "magnet" to the supposed discoverer of lodestone, the shepherd Magnes, "the nails of whose shoes and the tip of whose staff stuck fast in a magnetic field while he pastured his flocks". Pliny was killed during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius near Pompeii in A. 79 but his "Natural History" lived on as an authority on scientific matters up to the Middle Ages. C.) - one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece - was the first thinker to attempt to explain natural phenomena by means of some underlying scientific principle rather than by attributing them to the whim of the Gods - a major departure from previous wisdom and the foundation of scientific method, frowned upon by Aristotle but rediscovered during the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.

In recent years batteries have changed out of all recognition. Today the cells are components in battery systems, incorporating electronics and software, power management and control systems, monitoring and protection circuits, communications interfaces and thermal management. Mesopotamia, incorporating Sumer, Babylonia and Assyria, known in the West as the Cradle of Civilisation was located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (The name means "land between the rivers") in the so called Fertile Crescent stretching from the current Gulf of Iran up to modern day Turkey. the Sumerians of ancient Mesopotamia developed the World's first written language.

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Thales also demonstrated the effect of static electricity by picking up small items with an amber rod made of fossilised resin which had been rubbed with a cloth. C.) an Ionian Greek, is considered by many to be the Father of Mathematics.

He also noted that iron was attracted to lodestone. Like Thales, he had travelled to Egypt and Babylon where he studied astronomy and geometry. "In a right-angled triangle the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides" is well known to every schoolchild.

The writing was in the form of a series of wedge-shaped signs pressed into soft clay by means of a reed stylus to create simple pictures, or pictograms, each representing an object. the script progressively evolved to encompass more abstract concepts as well as phonetic functions (representing sounds, just like the modern Western alphabet) enabling the recording of messages and ideas.

The clay subsequently hardened in the Sun or was baked to form permanent tablets. For the first time news and ideas could be carried to distant places without having to rely on a messenger's memory and integrity.

Initially inspired by the development of batteries, it covers technology in general and includes some interesting little known, or long forgotten, facts as well as a few myths about the development of technology, the science behind it, the context in which it occurred and the deeds of the many personalities, eccentrics and charlatans involved.

"Either you do the work or you get the credit" Yakov Zel'dovich - Russian Astrophysicist Fortunately it is not always true.

Background We think of a battery today as a source of portable power, but it is no exaggeration to say that the battery is one of the most important inventions in the history of mankind.

Volta's pile was at first a technical curiosity but this new electrochemical phenomenon very quickly opened the door to new branches of both physics and chemistry and a myriad of discoveries, inventions and applications.

Produced from the freshwater papyrus reed, the papyrus scrolls were fragile and susceptible to decay from both moisture and excessive dryness and many of them have thus been lost, whereas the older, more durable clay cuneiform tablets from Mesopotamia have survived. Sumerian mathematics and science used a base 60 sexagesimal numeral system.

Historians seem to agree that the wheel and axle were invented around 3500 B. 60 is divisible by 1,2,3,4,5,6,10,12,15,20,30 and 60 making it more convenient than using a base 10 decimal system when working with fractions.

He claimed that the gold sheaths separated by the dry acacia wood effectively formed a large capacitor on which a static electrical charge could be built up by friction from the curtains around the Ark and this accounted for the sparks and the electrocution of Aaron's sons.

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