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Innovations that changed the world

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

A survey, asking the world's top boffins what they think the greatest innovations have been in their fields, has turned up a dizzying list of inventions, from the world wide web to the humble microscope.

Online magazine Spiked asked more than 100 top scientists, academics and influential thinkers including six Nobel laureates, to name the innovation they thought had contributed most to modern life.

Lewis Wolpert, a developmental biologist at UCL explained that he chose the microscope because without it, we might never have discovered the cell. Meanwhile sociologist Sir Tim Hunt said that the biggest step forward in his view was the decision to put university teaching and research under one roof. Google and its searchy ilk got a mention too, courtesy of Science writer Matt Ridley.

Speaking to the Guardian about the list, Spiked editor Mick Hume said: "Whatever the appearances, almost all of our respondents exude a sense of certainty about the improvement that innovations in their field are making to our world, and the potential for more of the same."

The magazine is hosting an event in London in June where some of the luminaries from its list will be speaking about their choices. ®

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