Steve Tomecek discusses 45 inventions that really shook up society. These big ideas inspired many other inventions and illuminate the changes that technology has made throughout time. From the hand ax and mathematics to IC chips and the laser, each technological touchstone in human history is described and placed in historical context. Each profile includes the who (if we know it), how the idea developed and how it works, the immediate impact of the idea, and the technological "children" of the idea. The time span is 3500 BC to today. The author closes with an epilogue that looks into the future, a bibliography, and a list of great Web sites for young inventors. Realistic, 4-color paintings, in technical drawing style, showcase the idea and its applications by humans.