Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the 20th Century – They Changed our World

The 20th century was full of brilliant discoveries that legitimately changed the world as we know it. Many things we have now, in the 21st century, like mobile phones and playing online poker in 2019, came from the inventions of the 20th and their derivatives. Among the many thousands of devices and tech that we have today, there are certainly some that stand out and are easily recognizable as the most important.

Here are some of the 20th century’s greatest inventions and discoveries.


Many people took their shots of penicillin when they were feverish or caught the flu, but more likely when they had a cold. This antibiotic changed the way people looked at microorganisms and extended our average lifespan. Sir Alexander Fleming is the one who discovered penicillin. It is very effective against bacteria and is derived from a fungus called Penicillium notatum. It was discovered in 1928.


These little devices, soon to be 7 nanometers small, are responsible for powering most of our IT components, from microprocessors to graphics cards. They are found in television sets and in mobile phones. These not so enigmatic devices are semiconductors which switch or amplify electronic signals. The transistor was patented by Julius Edgar Lilienfeld in 1925 for the first time, and the second time by Dr. Oskar Heil in 1947. How these devices became microprocessors is a very different story.


You will likely find a TV in many modern homes. There are plenty in cafes, casinos and everywhere, once you actually look around. Whether used for leisure activities or getting updated, watching documentaries or even your own movie collection, TVs are an almost essential part of any home today.

They came into existence in the 20th century but are a work of plenty of scientists from both the 19th and the 20th century. Various people contributed to the creation of what we now have today, not to mention the necessary technology to accompany the ever-evolving TVs.

Nuclear Power

Nuclear energy is an efficient way of creating lots of power. It technically should be a great way of creating power, if not for the potential accidents (Chernobyl in 1986) or nuclear waste which is sometimes disposed of in environmentally unfriendly ways.

Regardless, it was a breakthrough in science and allowed for the creation of other things, such as nuclear weapons, for better or worse.

Cars and Planes

Even though cars were already somewhat in development in the 19th century, it wasn’t until the 20th they became more available, albeit to people with a higher income. Later in the 20th century, during the second half, cars became a common occurrence, with models for the rich and those with a smaller income.

Planes also changed the way we look at the world, literally. Once they became mainstream, with the introduction of jet engines, a trip which once took a month could be completed in a day. The latter half of the 20th century saw some incredible but short-lived planes like the Concorde which traveled at twice the speed of sound.

The Internet

We could’ve done a lot of things today but most of them would not be imaginable without the internet. The ideas existed in the 60s and 70s, but once the 90s came, the internet became available and personal computers were also something people other than a scientist at a research center would have access to.

In the 21st century, the internet allows us to do many things, from buying everything to socializing with people, even providing an alternative to television.

These are the greatest inventions and discoveries of the 20th century. Be aware that there are more, yet these have definitely helped shape our world.


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