Science, technology, and invention is one of the most obviously influential themes in modern life. Most of us associate machines with science, technology, and invention, and machines have influenced our lives very deeply. Given our increasing use of computers, it is likely that historians will label the next period of technological advance "the age of computers." Some historians have described most of the twentieth century as "the automobile age," a reflection of the transforming impact of the automobile.
Science, technology, and invention have created great opportunities, which many of us would consider progress. But there have also been unanticipated results. On December 2, 1942, at 5630 Ellis Avenue in Chicago, Ernico Fermi, an Italian-born scientist, conducted the first self-sustaining nuclear reaction. His discoveries led to the production of nuclear energy as well as weapons of war. Students will be engaged by the ethical choices that they confront in science, technology, and invention, and history classes are appropriate settings to think about them. Students will also learn about Illinois agriculture, transportation, industry, manufacturing, and medicine as their teachers guide them in the use of the materials in this issue of the ILLINOIS HISTORY TEACHER. We hope that you will find these introductions to be helpful as you work with your students for an enlarged appreciation and understanding of science, technology, and invention in the Prairie State.
A big thanks is due to the Honeywell Foundation which provided the seed money for this publication. A special tribute is also due to Larry McBride, who assigned all the authors, reviewed their writing, guided them in revisions where needed, and wrote the introductory article. Larry, whose specialty is history education, has a keen eye for enterprising new junior and senior high school teachers. Some of these he assigned to the curriculum materials in this issue, but he also augmented their work by assigning senior authors who wrote the historical narratives that introduce the curriculum materials:
Pamela Riney-Kehrberg, Terri Ryburn-Lamonte, Michael Matejka, and Michael K. Daugherty. Our hats are off to all of them for making fuller our understanding of Illinois' past. Your students will not be the only beneficiaries.
Keith A. Sculle
ILLINOIS HISTORY TEACHER