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Undergraduate Research Showcase

Undergraduate research is the exploration of a specific topic within a field by an undergraduate student that makes an original contribution to the discipline.

The History of Technology: From the Waterwheel to the Water Turbine


Steven MarquezMy name is Steven Marquez, and I am a Seneff Honor College student pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering. While attending high school, I got involved in the robotics team. Since then, I feel a strong love for science and engineering. I am also passionate about history and learning, so after one course with Professor Brooks, his strategy to connect engineering and history in his classes encouraged me to do something similar with my project. So, I saw this research as an opportunity to combine my passions in one project.

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ABSTRACT:  Hydraulic inventions have played a major role in the development of modern society and engineering. However, hydraulic technology reaches back to antiquity and the Middle Ages. The system of current hydraulic devices seems to be modern, but in fact, many of these tools share similarities with ancient machines.  Scholars have studied the importance of the invention of the waterwheel in ancient and medieval industries. For decades, historians have tried – through written records and archeological discoveries – to set the precise point in time when the invention of the waterwheel took place. They have also been determined to establish who the inventor of this device was. And while answering these questions is worthy, the historical connection between modern engineering machines and the ancient waterwheel remains unexplored. There are still questions regarding what type of technological devices ancient societies used and who their inventors were. But scholars should also acknowledge that modern technology, especially hydraulic devices, rests upon the earlier traditions of engineering. One would be amazed to notice how many inventions considered modern are replicas of ancient technology that engineers have redesigned to assist with present necessities.


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Faculty Mentor

Dr. George Brooks

Professor of Humanities, Medieval Studies, Hisotry of Science & Technology

East Campus

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