Well, if you could throw them all in together in one big category, I’d say alternative energy! Solar panels came out in the 60’s — and obviously they are very “green” — and windmill technology came out long before the 20th century ever began … but we didn’t actually have a means for generating electricity with a windmill yet … actually windmills were invented prior to the discovery and later capture and use of electricty. They were used as a mechanical drive source for grinding up wheat into flour in like the 1700’s I think. Also water wheels… so what was the invention that made it all happen now (as far as wind turnbines, hyrdoelectric power, geothermal energy power, tidal power, well , even nuclear?)??? It was the invention of the Electric Generator, the earliest versions of which date back to 1827, but the modern versions, which I believe were invented in the mid 20th century, are much more efficient — so these go right up there with solar panels: “Other types of generators, such as the asynchronous or induction singly-fed generator, the doubly-fed generator, or the brushless wound-rotor doubly-fed generator, do not incorporate permanent magnets or field windings (i.e, electromagnets) that establish a constant magnetic field, and as a result, are seeing success in variable speed constant frequency applications, such as wind turbines or other renewable energy technologies.” Wiki is awesome, because before 5 minutes ago I had no idea who started it all: It was Jedlik with his Dynamo! And then Farraday (we know him for his law, but they didn’t stress the imporatance of his disc invention, which generated a steady steam of DC current, in light of the recent developments in alternative energy!)…
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