The Meaning of Technology in The Collins EBook

Technology is the collective term for any methods, technologies, systems, and practices utilized in the creation of products or services or in accomplishing goals, including scientific research. Technological change is a dynamic entity, undergoing cycles and oscillations. The word was first used by American linguist William Chase Hamilton to characterize the rapid evolution of new linguistic forms during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Hamilton believed that technological phenomena was a process of cultural evolution, with words being modified and altered to fit the changing needs of a new society. Today, many people use the term “technological” to describe a wide range of activities that fall under the broader heading of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and medicine.


Technological change is a dynamic entity, undergoing oscillations and cycles. Throughout history, technological systems and practices have developed and changed several times. As a result, over time the scope of modern technology has increased, encompassing a range of activities from telecommunications technology to nuclear weapons. Within the field of science, however, there are three distinct categories of technological systems: thermodynamics, engineering, and biology.

Thermodynamics is an area of science concerned with the temperature and other physical aspects of the matter. Some areas of thermodynamics encompass both energy and matter, while others focus entirely on one or the other. Chemical reactions in nature, like those in biology, produce heat; the temperature rise and fall of various chemicals are necessary to the functioning of various systems at the macroscopic level. A variety of thermodynamic sciences contribute to the understanding of the relationship between climate change, global warming, and the eco-system. Biologists studying ecosystems, industrial scientists studying manufacturing technologies, and environmentalists studying environmental impacts all utilize some form of thermodynamics in their work. In fact, a number of the processes that drive society and drive science and technology are themselves part of the broad field of thermodynamics.

Engineering is a discipline of science dealing with the use of resources to make something useful to people. Examples include the designs of automobiles, buildings, bridges, and even certain types of clothing. Engineering is so broad in its definition that it includes not only physical science but also many branches of math including algebra, geology, chemistry, and physics. One of the most important branches of engineering is mechanics, which encompasses the science of how things work. The purpose of engineering is to enhance the efficiency of human effort and to create a world that is capable of providing the necessities for human life. Some of the important areas of engineering include communications technology, computer science, and engineering design.

The third category of technology is biological. Biology is an area of study that studies the function and interaction of living things, focusing especially on the relationship of the human body and mind. A variety of technological innovations have been produced by the study of biology, ranging from the development of the immune system to the discovery of the genetic code. In the past, biological technologies were focused primarily on the improvement of the human condition, but in recent years they have developed more practical uses. Some of the most significant areas of biotechnology are cell and tissue culture technologies, pharmacology, reproductive technology, and micro-biotechnology.

Technological change is neither abrupt nor uniform. It is driven by a combination of social and cultural factors. Because of this, it is a complex field that can best be described using a mixed method of sociocultural analysis, developmental biology, technological innovation, and environmental science. According to the Collins English Dictionary, a technologist is “a person whose work deals with new ways of doing things and who believes that progress is inherently likely to result in increased benefits for humanity.”

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