The Contributions of Alaska Inventors
Inventors from Alaska have revolutionized their industries. Some of these individuals have even started institutions that have shaped the way we manage our natural resources. In this article, we will look at some of the most notable Alaskan inventors and how they made their mark on their respective fields. From kayaks to speech technology, we’ll see how each one contributed to society. So, who are these people? And why should you celebrate their contributions?
Inventors revolutionized their industries
The early industrial age saw many innovations in Alaska, and many of these innovations were revolutionary for their time. The telegraph changed the way we communicated across the ocean, and messages could be sent in minutes and delivered the same day. Before, sending letters overseas would take weeks. The telegraph made communicating with loved ones and colleagues easier. In the 1760s, James Hargreaves patented the spinning jenny, which allowed a continuous production of thread. The power loom was also invented by Edmund Cartwright, and Abraham Darby discovered an easier method for casting iron. Eventually, Henry Bessemer began mass-producing steel, which revolutionized the manufacturing of appliances, ships, and infrastructure.
Black Americans have a different story. In the early nineteenth century, the institutional environment was very different, and Black inventors in the northern United States were less likely to file a patent than their white counterparts. For this reason, Black inventors in Alaska were significantly less likely to obtain a patent than their white counterparts. Inventors in the North, on the other hand, acquired cutting-edge scientific and technical skills at high rates.
During the Industrial Revolution, innovations were widespread, especially in Britain. Advances in science and technology helped to revolutionize the production of goods, as well as agriculture and medicine. New energy sources were discovered, including petroleum, which made it possible to create a new class of mobile machines. Moreover, electricity became a common energy source, allowing manufacturers to use smaller motors and superior lighting in their factories.
Inventors created innovative institutions
In Alaska, innovators have a variety of sources for funding. For example, the Cold Climate Housing Research Center supports research and testing of energy-efficient building technologies. Currently, over 40 technologies have been licensed by the center, with the majority of these going to companies in Alaska. In 2007 alone, the top ten recipients of federal research and development contracts in the state received more than $76 million in funding. These institutions help create innovative products and services that benefit consumers and businesses alike.
Developing such technologies in Alaska is vital to the state’s economic development. The state’s strong IP rights are critical in protecting innovation. As a result, the state’s economy is experiencing rapid growth. A recent report by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Global Intellectual Property Center (GIPC) highlights the many ways Alaska is fostering innovation. In addition, the innovation economy is the driving force behind the state’s economic recovery.
While there are many ways to promote innovation in Alaska, there are a number of factors that can limit the number of new innovations. White children are three times more likely to become innovators than their minority counterparts, and those from higher-income families are eight times more likely to create innovative institutions than those from lower-income households. Inventors in Alaska have helped create jobs in the state, and there are many more ideas for innovation on the horizon.
Inventors improved management of natural resources
The work of the State of Alaska’s Natural Resources Council (NRC) includes the use of technology in conservation planning and management. In Alaska, natural resource management takes many forms, and the efforts of innovators in this state have helped to shape the future of the State. These efforts have improved the management of water and other natural resources in Alaska. But they also have affected human life in the state. The most recent study examined the impacts of changes to the natural environment on human health.
Inventors invented kayaks
The kayak was invented by Native peoples living in Alaska centuries ago. The term kayak comes from the Inuit word “qajaq,” and is common among indigenous peoples living in the Arctic circle. These peoples used kayaks to hunt on coastal and inland lakes, and likely used animal skin stretched over a frame. In later centuries, the kayak was improved to include more features. Inventors have attributed the kayak’s popularity to its innovative designs.
Originally, hunters used larger canoes called umiaqs, which could be up to 60 feet long. They were also well-suited for large waves and could carry as many as ten to twelve people. Native people in Alaska invented kayaks and paddles. They made them of driftwood or animal skin stretched over whalebone frames. Today, kayaking is one of the most popular forms of outdoor recreation.
Kayaks were invented by people living in Siberia, where they hunted caribou and other marine mammals. The design of a modern sit-in kayak is very similar to that of an Eskimo boat. There are only minor differences between the two. But the basic concept remains the same. The Eskimo kayak was designed to carry sealskin jackets, and the people in the early Arctic would have worn sealskin jackets to protect themselves from the harsh climate and cold.
Inventors revolutionized mining
In 1899, John A. Miscovich, a small mining engineer from New York, discovered the first gold mine in the state. The discovery led to the formation of the Chitina Exploration Company. In 1899, Smith and Warner discovered the famous Bonanza, about 20 miles from Nikolai Mines. As the boom continued, Miscovich, who was a New Yorker by birth, was able to leverage his connections to get attached to the Abercrombie staff.
Before modern machinery became available, miners dug mine shafts by hand or with stone tools. To clear tunnels, fire was used to soften the rock face. In the mid-19th century, dynamite was introduced and replaced fire. During the same period, motorized mining tools were developed. Some mining equipment is still used today, including mine cars and hand tools, but the new machinery and methods have made them much more efficient.
The introduction of electric power made copper more valuable. During World War I, the United States produced half of the world’s copper. During the 1890s, it became the source of copper for Native Americans. By 1900, little exploration would take place until the Klondike Gold Rush stampeders arrived in the state. In 1898, four thousand gold seekers landed in Valdez, on Prince William Sound. They hiked through the Chitina River valley and the resulting high grade ore deposits would make it one of the nation’s top mining areas.
Inventors improved management of permafrost
Permafrost is a unique type of soil that can rapidly disintegrate if disturbed. Permafrost in Alaska can be so unstable that trucks can get stuck on it, making it extremely difficult to construct a road. Because of this, inventors have created innovative ways to manage permafrost in the region. Here are just a few examples of ways that inventors have helped to improve management of permafrost in Alaska
Microbes in permafrost are key players in the geochemical cycles, determining how much carbon escapes to the air and how much remains in the soil. To study these effects, scientists collected bits of permafrost from the walls of a tunnel. The samples were stored in dry ice coolers and flown to a laboratory in Colorado. After they arrived at the lab, they suspended the samples in water and measured the carbon dioxide released.
Climate change has a direct impact on infrastructure in the Arctic, including communities that depend on seasonal certainty. Luckily, scientists are finding ways to better understand the impact of climate change on Alaska’s permafrost and make the environment livable for people. Inventors and researchers have been working to improve management of permafrost to mitigate the effects of climate change.
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