16 July 2009

The shoulders of giants

Creating cohesive story through the pathways and pavement of Future World may seem like an impossible task. After all, there are no dusty bike tracks, like those that can be found in Asia, or jewelry encrusted marketplaces, such as in Adventureland, in Future World. Such a challenge would seem daunting, until you remember that Future World has the entirety of creation to build around and upon. The innovation of mankind leads the way for guests that as they enter Future World West (The Land, Imagination, and The Seas pavilions) in a series of pavestones. This courtyard, referred to as Inventor’s Circle or the Discovery Tiles, was added to Epcot in 1998 and showcases the great achievements, breakthroughs, and explorations of the human race.The six outer circles meet at the center circle paver, and radiate out in five sections. Surrounding this circle paver, the courtyard introduces us to some of the greatest thoughts by some of the foremost pioneers. Their words offer humility and insight into what true innovation is: the ability to look at something in a new light, with the collection of work from all of mankind to work from.
To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk. Thomas Edison Inventor 1847-1931

Every great advance in science has issued from a new audacity of imagination. John Dewey Educator 1859-1952

Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what no one else has thought. Albert Szent-Gyorgi Biochemist 1893-1986

If I have seen farther it is by standing on the shoulders of giants. Sir Isaac Newton Mathematician and Physicist 1642-1727

Nothing in life is to be fears. It is only to be understood. Marie Curie Physicist 1867-1934

From there we move out into the history of discovery, starting with the Prehistoric Era, then moving through the Middle Ages, Renaissance Period, Industrial Revolution, before reaching the work of the 20th Century. In each of these circles are discoveries that have proven critical to the continued success of humankind. Within each of these historical markers is not only the event itself, but also the name of the inventor (if known), the year in which the discovery was made, and the location where the breakthrough took place (if known).

During the Prehistoric Era we find the most basic of human needs being met. Tools to work and hunt with, heat for warmth and cooking, the beginnings of stable civilizations take shape with the first forms of farming, and the basis of global communication are all unearthed. The courtyard markers for the Prehistoric Era are:
Stone Tools 2,000,000 BC Unknown
Fire 500,000 BC Unknown
Agriculture 8000 BC Sumerians
Wheel 3500 BC Sumerians
Alphabet 1600 BC Phoenicians

The Middle Ages represent a time of great need as much has been lost during the Dark Ages. Though discoveries are not made in leaps and bounds, an innovation that has led you straight to this site was made, the printing press. The only paver found in the Middle Ages is:
Printing Press 1450 Johannes Gutenberg Germany

In the Renaissance Period there is an explosion of thought and work completed on our place in the universe. From earth’s specific place in the cosmos to the structures unseen by the naked eye, our understanding of who we are, where we are, and what we are made of, begins to take shape. Found among the Renaissance Period pavers are:
Sun Centered Solar System 1543 Nicolaus Copernicus Poland
Microscope 1590 Zacharias Janssen Netherlands
Astronomical Telescope 1609 Galileo Galilei Italy
Scientific Method 1620 Francis Bacon England
Microorganisms 1626 Anton van Leeuwenhoek Holland
Cell 1665 Robert Hooke England

With the dawning of the Industrial Revolution, we see man’s ability to create pick up steam and thrust us headlong into a golden age of discovery. Some of the world’s most substantial breakthroughs are made in the fields of locomotion, health, communication, and electricity. The courtyard’s markers for the Industrial Revolution are:
Steam Engine 1712 Thomas Newcomen England
Electric Generator 1831 Michael Faraday England
Internal Combustion Engine 1860 Jean-Joseph Etienne Lenoir France
Germ Theory of Disease 1862 Louis Pasteur France
Genetics 1865 Gregor Mendel Austria
Pasteurization 1865 Louis Pasteur France
Telephone 1876 Alexander Bell America
Electric Light 1878 Thomas Edison America
Radio Waves 1887 Heinrich Hertz Germany
Wireless Telegraph 1895 Guglielmo Marconi Italy
Electron 1897 Joseph Thomson England

The 20th Century brought with it time; time to ponder the larger questions and smallest corners of world, time for leisure, and time to reach out to the stars above. Television and the world wide web introduced new forms of entertainment and new ways to communicate, while penicillin granted us better defense against illness, and the skies were filled with airplanes and rockets to the moon. Pavers for the 20th Century area of the courtyard are:
Quantum Theory 1900 Max Planck Germany
Atomic Energy 1901 Marie & Pierre Curie France
Airplane 1903 Orville & Wilbur Wright America
Liquid Fueled Rocket 1926 Robert Goddard America
Penicillin 1928 Alexander Fleming England
Television 1928 Philo Farnsworth America
Computer 1930 Vannevar Bush America
Nuclear Reactor 1942 Enrico Fermi America
DNA 1944 Oswald Avery America
Transistor 1948 William Shockley, John Bardeen & Walter Brattain America
Microprocessor 1971 Ted Hoff, Federico Faggin & Stan Mazor America
Genetic Engineering 1973 Stanley Cohen & Herbert Boyer America
World Wide Web 1990 Tim Berners-Lee England

This small courtyard is filled with irony and promise. On one hand we, as guests of Epcot, are standing upon the discoveries of greatness that affect every piece of our daily lives, and yet we do so without even taking pause to notice what we are walking upon. Still, we are presented with only a handful of the dramatic innovations conceived by humankind throughout our history. With these marvels in our past, is it any wonder that future, as presented within Future World but includes the world as a whole, indeed looks bright?

1 comment:

Princess Fee said...

This is one of my favourite parts of Future World - I love to have a look at the different quotes. Thank you for documenting it all for us!