On 15 September 1997, two young Stanford University students registered the Google domain which sought, with a play on words, to catalyse the infinite quantity of information on the Internet. The name was chosen by Larry Page and Sergey Brin, inspired by the mathematical term googol, indicating a number beginning with a 1 and followed by 100 zeros. It was coined by American mathematician Edward Kasner in 1938 to convey the difference between a huge number and infinity. Google boasts that it can index a huge number of web pages, certainly more than the figure achieved by its rivals. It marked the birth of an invention characterised by young people who, with their own ideas and desire to be a part of the world, created a parallel world populated with virtual visitors every day. We have all smiled at the doodles, modified versions of the Google logo that, on various occasions or for special events, celebrate figures from past and contemporary history, welcoming us to the search engine when we connect via our mobile phones or any other electronic device. It is a distinctive trademark that has, over the years, stood out as original and unique, that has no equal and that now arouses the curiosity of users, accustomed to being amused by these brilliant periodical expedients.
The inventions of the IT and digital era have always come from young Archimedes.
At just 19 years of age and in his second year at university, a failed love story prompted Mark Zuckerberg to find a new way of contacting acquaintances in the same school, neighbourhood, town or city. Aided by his fellow students, he set up a system initially centred only on students of his own college. He created a website (Facebook) using photos of those in the student directory and it immediately attracted great interest. He risked being expelled from college because of this project, at that time still far from being recognised as a brilliant idea and a source of income and wealth!
What was to become the world's most famous social network opened up to high-school students and employees of some large companies in February 2006. From 11 September of the same year, everyone could register. In July 2007, Mark Zuckerberg's website was in the top ten worldwide. Bill Gates with Microsoft and other investors later purchased market shares in Facebook at an incredible price. Google made Mark and his partners a huge offer to purchase the package but it was rejected.
In 2008, Forbes named Zuckerberg the world's youngest billionaire and, in 2010, his personal wealth was estimated as four billion dollars. In 2010, Facebook had more than 500 million users registered online and was the second most popular website in the world, after Google; Facebook Inc., of which Mark is CEO, is valued at between 25 and 40 billion dollars. It is one of the Large Caps on the American Stock exchange.
Unable to get its hands on Facebook, Google purchased the YouTube startup, another fantastic invention by the three 20-year-olds Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim and Steve Chen. YouTube users play an active role by uploading personal videos directly from their mobiles, rating the best videos in comparison to others and availing of special tools to report videos with illegal or violent content.
Officially launched on 15 February 2005, the first video was uploaded at 20.27 on 23 April 2005 and entitled “Me at the zoo”. Just three years after its creation, YouTube was a smash Internet hit, achieving mega results that crippled ticket offices worldwide. An average of 65,000 new videos are uploaded every day and more than 100 million are viewed every 24 hours.
The fuel that has driven all the young inventions of our times, including Twitter and its tweets, has come from Smartphones and tablets. These are real mini-computers that, initially thanks to Apple and the IOS operating system, with all the various Ipads and Iphones have enabled the whole world to use apps that facilitate access to all the social media invented over the last 20 years.
Thanks to these technology-rich tools, the development and success of applications have led to the creation of a number of other software languages translated by the Apple's rivals, including Android.
In Italy too, the natural cradle of so many major inventions in the history of mankind - from radio to telephone and even the Moka coffee-pot -, a young 22-year-old is becoming known for a marvellous idea: an app that enables the visually impaired to read objects in a room using artificial intelligence. This young Italian entrepreneur is called Alberto Rizzoli and he produced this revolutionary app with the valued help of 26-year-old Marita Cheng and 27-year-old Simon Adwardsson. These three young people developed software that allows a mobile phone with a camera to take a picture and, a few seconds later, provide an answer as to the object photographed.
Young people inventing wonderful devices and coming up with great ideas have made the history of progress great. Thanks to them, this is reflected in our constant early fervour to perfect a life project that we pursue every day, conscious of the greatness of the human mind.
The Modern Youth of the Past
Nearly all the things around us and that form a part of our lives have an inventor's story behind them. It is thanks to the intelligence and creativity of these figures that we can now count on many products that make our lives easier on a daily basis: paper , plastic, electric light bulbs, Biro pens, as too steel, telephones and, of course, televisions.
Behind many of the objects that have become a part of our daily lives and that are inevitably taken for granted lies the inspired work of many brilliant minds. Indeed, the most innovative and revolutionary ideas were often conceived by brains that ID checks confirm as very young!
Philo Farnsworth was just 14 when he began working on an invention that would eventually lead to one of the major discoveries of his century: the television. Farnsworth spent much of his life developing a device that could reproduce images. It was to all effects the precursor of the modern television and his creations include the image dissector, a video-camera tube. His prototype came to life in his San Francisco workshop in California and seemed revolutionary compared with previous models, until then centred on a mechanical system. His, by contrast, was equipped with an electronic device. Farnsworth's television conveyed images to a sensitive surface via a cathode-ray tube, technology that is still in use although today's market is moving towards plasma screens, LEDs and OLEDs.
At just 17 years of age, child prodigy Blaise Pascal, educated by his tax-collector father, published his Essay on Conics and when 19 created the first ever mechanical calculator, the Pascaline, creating the first system of additional calculation. This speeded up the work of Pascal's father, who spent his days performing complex mathematical calculations. The first calculator was a wooden box with a very complex system of gears and can be admired at the Musée des Arts et Métiers.
Louis Braille, who famously invented the present international system of reading and writing for the blind, lost his sight in an accident at the tender age of three and his world became one of sounds and music. He attended a school for the blind in Paris which used books with letters in relief to enable good students to read. Inspired by this tool, at the age of just 15, Braille created a system employing raised dots instead of letters. The Braille language has become the official tactile writing system adopted by the blind and visually impaired the world over.