inventions that changed the world

Let your hands run wild despite being stuck at home with our specially curated hands-on activities. Using items found around the house and a little spark of creativity, learn about 6 inventions that have empowered mankind.



The Periodic Table

In 1869, Russian chemist Dimitri Mendeleev started developing the periodic table, arranging chemical elements by atomic mass. This organization allows us to derive the relationships between various elements and to predict the chemical properties and behaviours of newly discovered elements 

Join “The Great Element Hunt” and win prizes when you share a photo of an item in your house containing the element of the day! An element will be unveiled each day from 26 July to 8 August on @singaporesciencefestival via Instagram Stories, stay tuned! 



The Compass

Before the GPS app in our phones and cars, people found their direction using a compass - a magnetizes needle lined up with the earth's magnetic field to point at the true North.

The first compass was believed to be invented in China during the Han Dynasty and was originally used for divination, fortune-telling, and geomancy. Today, hand-held magnetic compasses are still used in sailing, mining, astronomy and in the military.

Build your own Compass!


The Sundial

One of the first time-keeping devices in ancient civilisations - the sundial - indicates the time of day through the position of shadows cast when it is exposed to the sun.

This invention allowed people to have a sense of local solar time, and was heavily relied on, until clocks were invented. Revisit its archaic beauty and try your hand at making your very own!

Build your own Sundial!



The Windmill

Once used to generate mechanical and kinetic energy for ship sails, musical instruments and lifting water from wells. Building on that, Charles F. Brush invented the wind turbines in 1888, converting kinetic energy into electrical energy. the invention continues to be popular today as an environmentally-friendly energy source.

Build your own Windmill!


The Phenakistoscope

A phenakistoscope is a cardboard disc, made of a series of images around its rim. These images are reflected in a mirror to showcase a rapid succession of images that appear like a single moving picture.

Invented by Belgian physicist Joseph Plateau and Professor Simon Stampfer in 1832, it is still widely regarded as one of the first forms of moving media entertainment that paved the way for the future of motion pictures. Make your own images come to life with your own phenakistoscope!

Build your own Phenakistoscope!



From saving lives to preventing pandemics, there is no better time to understand the importance of vaccines. Edward Jenner discovered vaccinology when he developed a vaccine for smallpox in 1796 which led to the virus' successful global eradication in 1981.

Vaccines are made from killed or weakened viruses that are unable to cause diseases, but can induce the production of antibodies, which protect our body against future infections and give us immunity. Dig up your health booklet and find out if you are well-vaccinated!

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