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The Technology poortal

A steam turbine with the case opened. Such turbines produce most of the electricity used today. Electricity consumption and living standards are highly correlated. Electrification is believed to be the most important engineering achievement of the 20th century.

Technology ("science of craft", from Greek τέχνη, techne, "art, skill, cunning of hand"; and -λογία, -logia) is first robustly defined by Jacob Bigelow in 1829 as: "...principles, processes, and nomenclatures of the more conspicuous arts, particularly those which involve applications of science, and which may be considered useful, by promoting the benefit of society, together with the emolument [compensation ] of those who pursue them" .

  • Principle is a term defined current-day by Merriam-Webster as: "a comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption", "a primary source", "the laws or facts of nature underlying the working of an artificial device", "an ingredient (such as a chemical) that exhibits or imparts a characteristic quality".
  • Process is a term defined current-day by the United States Patent Laws (United States Code Title 34 - Patents) published by the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) as follows: "The term 'process' means process, art, or method, and includes a new use of a known process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or material."
  • Nomenclature is term defined by Merriam-Webster as: "name, designation", "the act or process or an instance of naming", "a system or set of terms or symbols especially in a particular science, discipline, or art" .
  • Application of Science is a term defined current-day by the United States' National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine as: "...any use of scientific knowledge for a specific purpose, whether to do more science; to design a product, process, or medical treatment; to develop a new technology; or to predict the impacts of human actions."

The simplest form of technology is the development and use of basic tools. The prehistoric discovery of how to control fire and the later Neolithic Revolution increased the available sources of food, and the invention of the wheel helped humans to travel in and control their environment. Developments in historic times, including the printing press, the telephone, and the Internet, have lessened physical barriers to communication and allowed humans to interact freely on a global scale.

Technology has many effects. It has helped develop more advanced economies (including today's global economy) and has allowed the rise of a leisure class. Many technological processes produce unwanted by-products known as pollution and deplete natural resources to the detriment of Earth's environment. Innovations have always influenced the values of a society and raised new questions of the ethics of technology. Examples include the rise of the notion of efficiency in terms of human productivity, and the challenges of bioethics.

Philosophical debates have arisen over the use of technology, with disagreements over whether technology improves the human condition or worsens it. Neo-Luddism, anarcho-primitivism, and similar reactionary movements criticize the pervasiveness of technology, arguing that it harms the environment and alienates people; proponents of ideologies such as transhumanism and techno-progressivism view continued technological progress as beneficial to society and the human condition.

Selected article

A diagram of one shale oil extraction process
Shale oil extraction is an industrial process for unconventional oil production. This process converts kerogen in oil shale into shale oil by pyrolysis, hydrogenation, or thermal dissolution. The resultant shale oil is used as fuel oil or upgraded to meet refinery feedstock specifications by adding hydrogen and removing sulfur and nitrogen impurities. Shale oil extraction is usually performed above ground (ex situ processing) by mining the oil shale and then treating it in processing facilities. Other modern technologies perform the processing underground (on-site or in situ processing) by applying heat and extracting the oil via oil wells. The earliest description of the process dates to the 10th century. The industry shrank in the mid-20th century following the discovery of large reserves of conventional oil, but high petroleum prices at the beginning of the 21st century have led to renewed interest. As of 2010, major long-standing extraction industries are operating in Estonia, Brazil, and China. Its economic viability varies with the ratio of local energy input costs to energy output value. National energy security issues have also played a role in its development. Critics of shale oil extraction pose questions about environmental management issues, such as waste disposal, extensive water use and waste water management, and air pollution.

In this month

The Trinity nuclear test, 16ms after detonation

Did you know...

The camera on the Mars Global Surveyor

Featured biography

Robert Oppenheimer
J. Robert Oppenheimer was an American physicist and the scientific director of the Manhattan Project, the World War II effort to develop the first nuclear weapons, at the secret Los Alamos laboratory in New Mexico. Known colloquially as "the father of the atomic bomb", Oppenheimer lamented the weapon's killing power after it was used to destroy the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After the war, he was a chief advisor to the newly-created Atomic Energy Commission and used that position to lobby for international control of atomic energy and to avert the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. After invoking the ire of many politicians and scientists with his outspoken political opinions during the Red Scare, he had his security clearance revoked in a much-publicized and politicized hearing in 1954. Though stripped of his political influence, Oppenheimer continued to lecture, write, and work in physics. A decade later, President Lyndon B. Johnson awarded him the Enrico Fermi Award as a gesture of rehabilitation.


Selected quote

Stephen Hawking in 1999
Stephen Hawking, "A Brief History of Relativity" (1999)

Selected picture

Telefon BW 2012-02-18 13-44-32.JPG
Credit: Berthold Werner

A telephone, or phone, is a telecommunications device that converts sound, typically the human voice, into electronic signals suitable for transmission via cables or other transmission media over long distances through satellite.


Technology categories

Main topics


Technological aspect of idea concepts and issues – Appropriate technology • Clean technology • Diffusion of innovations in science • Doomsday device • Ecotechnology • Environmental technology • High technology • History of science and technology • History of technology • Industry • Innovation • Knowledge economy • Persuasion technology • Pollution • Posthumanism • Precautionary principle • Research and development • Science, technology, and society • Strategy of technology • Superpowers • Sustainable technology • Technocapitalism • Technocriticism • Techno-progressivism • Technological convergence • Technological evolution • Technological determinism • Technological diffusion • Technological singularity • Technology acceptance model • Technology assessment • Technology lifecycle • Technology transfer • Technology Tree • Technorealism • Timeline of invention • Transhumanism

Technologies and applied sciences – Aerospace • Agriculture, Agricultural science & Agronomy • Architecture • Artificial intelligence • Automation • Automobile • Big Science • Biotechnology • Cartography • Chemical engineering • Communication • Computing (Computer science, List of open problems in computer science, Programming, Software engineering, Information technology, Computer engineering) • Construction • Design • Electronics • Energy development • Energy storage • Engineering • Ergonomics • Firefighting • Forensics • Forestry • Free software • Health sciences • Health Informatics • Industry • Information science • Internet • Library and information science • Machines • Management • Manufacturing • Mass communication • Mass production • Medicine (Unsolved problems in neuroscience) • Military science • Military technology and equipment • Mining • Nanotechnology • Nuclear technology • Packaging and labeling • Processes • Robotics • Space exploration • Technology forecasting • Telecommunications • Tools • Transport • Vehicles • Weapons


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