“The soil is the great connector of our lives, the source and destination of us all” — Wendell Berry
History’s brightest minds are not always our modern day heroes, and as decades pass, the consequences of ingenious discoveries unfold. This is especially true in the history of agriculture.
Take Fritz Haber for example: a German chemist awarded the Nobel prize for his invention of a process that converts atmospheric nitrogen into ammonia, used to make the fertilisers that now feed half the world. …
“Seek truth from facts”
- Book of Han
In the medieval period, practical technology from China such as the compass, gunpowder, papermaking, and printing travelled along the Silk Road to Europe. These important technologies would support the flourishing of European culture, exploration and state-building.
In the 16th and 17th century, knowledge flowed back to China in the form of insights and techniques from Europe’s ‘scientific revolution’, providing a set of mental tools, for example Euclidean geometry and the ‘scientific method’, that would help Chinese scholars understand the physical universe.
Later on, trains, electricity, internal combustion engines, the microprocessor and other fruits of European science and technology also travelled east, allowing China to modernise and ultimately become the industrial giant that it is now. …