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1.15: Technology and Science

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12
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This incredible image was made by the Hubble space telescope. The image is called Pillars of Creation. It shows the actual formation of stars in distant space. The Hubble telescope is a very powerful telescope that orbits Earth like a satellite. Scientists placed the Hubble telescope into space so it could make clear images like this without background lights on Earth competing with the dim light from distant stars. It has led to many scientific discoveries.

How Technology and Science Are Related

The Hubble space telescope shows that technology and science are closely related. Technology uses science to solve problems, and science uses technology to make new discoveries. However, technology and science have different goals. The goal of science is to answer questions and increase knowledge. The goal of technology is to find solutions to practical problems. Although they have different goals, science and technology work hand in hand, and each helps the other advance. Scientific knowledge is used to create new technologies such as the space telescope. New technologies often allow scientists to explore nature in new ways.

How Technology Revolutionized Science

The Hubble telescope was put into orbit around Earth in the 1990s, but scientists have been using telescopes to make discoveries for hundreds of years. The first telescope was invented in the early 1600s. The inventor was probably a Dutch lens maker named Hans Lippershey. He and his telescope are pictured in Figure below. Lippershey used scientific knowledge of the properties of light and lenses to design his telescope.

Hans Lippershey is credited with making the first practical telescope in 1608. He is pictured here using his invention to view distant objects. Officials of the Dutch government recognized the importance of Lippershey’s invention. They gave him a generous sum of money for his design.

Lippershey’s new technology quickly spread all over Europe. Almost immediately, the Italian scientist and inventor Galileo started working to improve Lippershey’s design. In just two years, Galileo had made a more powerful telescope. It could make very distant objects visible to the human eye. The Figure below shows Galileo demonstrating his powerful telescope. It appears to be focused on the moon. Galileo started using his telescope to explore the night sky. He soon made some remarkable discoveries. He observed hills and valleys on the moon and spots on the sun. He discovered that Jupiter has moons and that the sun rotates on its axis. With his discoveries, Galileo was able to prove that the sun, not Earth, is at the center of the solar system. This discovery played an important role in the history of science. It led to a scientific revolution that gave birth to modern Western science. And it all began with technology!

Galileo is shown here presenting his telescope to government leaders. They must have been impressed. They gave him a life-long job as a university professor and doubled his salary.

Other Examples

There are many other examples that show how technology and science work together. Two are pictured in Figure below. Another example is the microscope. It may have been invented by Galileo around the same time as the telescope. Like the invention of the telescope, the invention of the microscope also depended on scientific knowledge of light and lenses.

Q: How do you think the invention of the microscope helped science advance?

A: The microscope let scientists view a world of tiny objects they had never seen before. It led to many important scientific discoveries, including the discovery of cells, which are the basic building blocks of all living things.

Seismometers and spectrometers are both technological devices that led to important scientific discoveries.


  • Science and technology help each other advance. Scientific knowledge is used to create new technologies. New technologies often allow scientists to explore nature in different ways and make new discoveries.
  • Examples of technologies that have helped science advance include the telescope and microscope.


Read this short article about scientific discoveries made possible by the invention of the microscope. Then answer the questions below.


  1. What was the focus of the first scientific studies using the microscope? What was the significance of their results?
  2. How did the microscope help scientists understand diseases?
  3. How did quantum theories of physics change microscope technology?


  1. What is the relationship between technology and science?
  2. What scientific knowledge was necessary for the invention of the telescope and microscope?
  3. Identify a scientific discovery made possible by technology.

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Difficulty Level:
At Grade
7 , 8
Date Created:
Oct 31, 2012
Last Modified:
Sep 13, 2016
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