Learning to tell time when I grew up was a challenge. Clocks were analog - not digital. Everywhere. I can still see the little stiff pink paper clocks we were issued in first grade, with a brass brad fastening the hands to the face. We practiced setting the hands and reading off the time. Thanks to LCDs (liquid crystal displays) my sons had a quantiative sense of time much earlier, digital clocks blinked at them in every corner of their lives.
It took quite a bit to turn the initial discovery into a technology so smoothly integrated into modern life that we rarely notice it's there (how many LCD screens are in the room where you are now? Don't forget the ones in your pockets...). You can read more about the history of the LCD in this blog post by Ben Gross, a fellow at the CHF where I'm currently a short term fellow.
One of the pivotal developments was the leveraging of the twisted nematic effect...which made me wonder what worms (nematodes) and my iPad might have in common. The Greek root of threads....
A review of Freeman Dyson's "Dreams of Earth and Sky"
9 hours ago in The Curious Wavefunction