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    In it, he attributed the name "magnet" to the supposed discoverer of lodestone, the shepherd Magnes, "the nails of whose shoes and the tip of whose staff stuck fast in a magnetic field while he pastured his flocks". Pliny was killed during the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius near Pompeii in A. 79 but his "Natural History" lived on as an authority on scientific matters up to the Middle Ages. C.) - one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece - was the first thinker to attempt to explain natural phenomena by means of some underlying scientific principle rather than by attributing them to the whim of the Gods - a major departure from previous wisdom and the foundation of scientific method, frowned upon by Aristotle but rediscovered during the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution.

    He travelled to Egypt and the city state of Babylon in Mesopotamia (now modern day Iraq) and is said to have brought Babylonian mathematics back to Greece.

    (See Map of Mesopotamia) Unfortunately this accolade ignores the contributions of the Chinese people and the Harappans of the Indus Valley, (Modern day Pakistan) who were equally "civilised" during this period practicing metallurgy (copper, bronze, lead, and tin) and urban planning, with civic buildings, baked brick houses, and water supply and drainage systems. Called Cuneiform Writing from the Latin "cuneus", meaning "wedge", it was developed as a vehicle for commercial accounting transactions and record keeping.

    The writing was in the form of a series of wedge-shaped signs pressed into soft clay by means of a reed stylus to create simple pictures, or pictograms, each representing an object. the script progressively evolved to encompass more abstract concepts as well as phonetic functions (representing sounds, just like the modern Western alphabet) enabling the recording of messages and ideas.

    Historians seem to agree that the wheel and axle were invented around 3500 B. 60 is divisible by 1,2,3,4,5,6,10,12,15,20,30 and 60 making it more convenient than using a base 10 decimal system when working with fractions.

    The Mesopotamians thus introduced the 60-minute hour, the 60-second minute and the 360-degree circle with each angular degree consisting of 60 seconds.

    The calendar adopted by the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians was based 12 lunar months and seven-day weeks with 24-hour days.

    Despite decimalisation, we still use these sexagesimal measures today.

    Pioneers It is often overlooked that throughout the nineteenth century, most of the electrical experimenters, inventors and engineers who made these advances possible had to make their own batteries before they could start their investigations. the World was starting to emerge from the Stone Age. C., Mesopotamians (from modern day Iraq), who had already been active for hundreds of years in primitive metallurgy extracting metals such as copper from their ores, led the way into the Bronze Age when artisans in the cities of Ur and Babylon discovered the properties of bronze and began to use it in place of copper in the production of tools, weapons and armour.

    They did not have the benefit of cheap, off the shelf, mass produced batteries. Bronze is a relatively hard alloy of copper and tin, better suited for the purpose than the much softer copper enabling improved durability of the weapons and the ability to hold a cutting edge.

    Volta's pile was at first a technical curiosity but this new electrochemical phenomenon very quickly opened the door to new branches of both physics and chemistry and a myriad of discoveries, inventions and applications.

    The electronics, computers and communications industries, power engineering and much of the chemical industry of today were founded on discoveries made possible by the battery.

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