What object tells the story of life in 2010?

A History of the World in 100 Objects tells two million years of history through one hundred objects from the British Museum's collection.

For the 100th object, the British Museum wanted to choose an object to that told the story of the ingenuity and the challenges that shape humanity in the 21st century.

We asked the audience which object they would choose and why.

  • 09:43 9th October 2010 A silicon chip - which has transformed the world by computers and all other devices relying on this component. - Richard Whiting (Leicester)
  • 09:30 9th October 2010 Tarmac. Before tarmac, winters were muddy, summers were dusty houses had to be constantly cleaned and travel was precarious. After, children could play outside, spring cleaning was a thing of the past, everyone was healthier, and travel was revolutionized. Tarmac changed the world. - Colin Ledsome (London)
  • 09:19 9th October 2010 The Aspirin tablet. Aspirin is a drug that is still used as a very effective analgesic and antipyretic. It is so cheap it is available to all, worldwide. Over the years it has saved many lives by reducing fever and preventing heart attacks. And it has helped countless millions manage their pain. - Frank E Chennell (Burwash, E Sussex)
  • 09:18 9th October 2010 The Zylog Z80 processor. It was used in the Amstrad PCW, making computers affordable and useful, and in the space shuttle. - Mick (Derbyshire)
  • 02:18 9th October 2010 A simple plastic food bowl, as used by UN and other relief agencies to feed the millions of refugees, starving and those reliant on food aid. From Biafra to the Congo via Ethiopia, SE Asia, the Mother and Child waiting in line food bowl in hand a symbol of the hungry poor across the centuries. - Brendan Murphy (Leeds)
  • 00:58 9th October 2010 The cigarette. Once an essential lifestyle accessory, and one with over 300 years of history behind it. Tobacco has had more of a negative impact on health more than any other product ever invented. - Everton Porter (Birmingham)
  • 22:54 8th October 2010 The much handled letter my grandmother received in 1914, telling her that my grandfather had been killed in Sept. in the Battle of the Aisne. It represents a personal tragedy, multiplied by millions, and a sacrifice, still ongoing. WW1 changed politics, values, faith, social institutions and the arts, and its effects still ripple on in C21. - Sue Kruk (Hayling Island)
  • 22:13 8th October 2010 One of the home computers from the 1980s. For me the Spectrum ZX for others the ZX81, BBC or Commodore. The beginning of the information age as the masses were given access to home computing. The Spectrum though looked fantastic, iconic even! - Neil Spence (Cockermouth)
  • 22:10 8th October 2010 A football, the first World Cup football, perhaps. I choose a football as an ultimate contender because of the massive global influence the football industry has created from extreme humble beginnings. It is a media phenomenon as well as a cultural whirlwind. It is a mass employer and a subject of conversation for millions. It is also an object which generates hate and adulation. - Christopher Hadfield (Manchester)
  • 21:37 8th October 2010 Pokemon card - because I liked them and because I grew up in a time of ferociously changing fashions. - Dave (Cheshire)
  • 21:30 8th October 2010 The iPhone - best symbol of the information age - Anne Dixon (Devon)
  • 21:01 8th October 2010 iPhone. For it's leading technology to have everything in one. Phone, camera, internet - Angela Croxall (Oxford)
  • 21:01 8th October 2010 DNA microarray http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DNA_microarray This embodies the two technologies of Micro-Electronics and Biology. The micro architecture that created this array come from the fabrication of the the billion transistor microprocessors which dominate today. The impact of the discovery of DNA and the sequencing of the human genome is only just beginning to be felt. All for just USD500 - Mark James (London UK)
  • 20:53 8th October 2010 The mobile phone. No explanation is needed. We all have them - Andy Richardson (Exeter)
  • 19:35 8th October 2010 CCTV camera, so you can be watched and snitched on. - Snip (South Yorks)
  • 19:29 8th October 2010 The differential gearbox - a thing of simplicity and incredible ingenuity. - Brian Beckett (Yorkshire)
  • 19:19 8th October 2010 The mobile phone: communication anywhere, any time, end of privacy, camera recording events as they happen, recordings of last messages 9/11, the world viewed through the eyes of the man on the street. - Anthea Simmons (Devon)
  • 19:17 8th October 2010 Something that represents the transmission of sound - a small speaker maybe, although it does not quite fully capture what I want. Recorded music is ubiquitous now and often unwarranted. It impinges on personal space and privacy, either directly through speakers in shops, offices, lifts etc or indirectly via the buzz from earphones on iPods etc. - Les Gibbings (Milton Keynes)
  • 18:03 8th October 2010 The plastic carrier. They are world wide and causing so much damage in polution, providing mosquito's with breeding grounds and we think they should be provided for free as if they are a right. - Helebn sida-page (Norfolk)
  • 17:43 8th October 2010 A plastic bottle of water. The water enables life in all its forms and so is marvellous yet is something which, in the near future, will be the reason for wars and death. Encase it in plastic which is one of the most versatile inventions of the 20th century but is also humankind's most visible evidence of pollution, destruction and waste. - Felicity Ward-Smith (Devon, UK)
  • 17:25 8th October 2010 iPhone - Window to the world. - Helen Roger (Perth, Scotland)
  • 17:24 8th October 2010 A.K. 47 - Stewart Bevan (Debenham, Suffolk)
  • 17:09 8th October 2010 An eppendorf tube. Medical research and basic physiological understanding have progressed rapidly because of out ability to perform experiments at a cellular and molecular level. - Anna Dutton (Warrington)
  • 16:34 8th October 2010 The empty plinth in Trafalgar Square. A solid object in a regimented ordered age now often adorned with the prosaic and uncertain art of a less defined and uncertain time. - AJH Sweerts de Landas (gu236al)
  • 16:16 8th October 2010 A one pound coin. Will ever get out of the financial mess? - David Nickless (Mold)
  • 16:10 8th October 2010 3DTV and the prices are going down! Just imagine a 3D Cameron Diaz in your dining room! Mmh very nice... - Davide Bray (London)
  • 15:59 8th October 2010 A uranium fuel pellet. The birth of the atomic age has been overshadowed by the atomic bomb. The history of the last 65 years has been dominated by the fear of the critical mass.The fuel pellet will always be viewed with a mixture of both amazement and terror for its latent power - power that could be used to build or destroy . - Brian Playfair (Mickleover Derby)
  • 14:14 8th October 2010 For me introducing driving test - it would be better just allow anyone to drive without taking any test. - Ahmed Hayul (Newcastle upon Tyne)
  • 13:53 8th October 2010 The lightbulb. Such a simple and beautiful object that has spawned so many variations which find their way into almost all the technology we use today. It's almost a gatekeeper for the modern world - communities which don't have the lightbulb rarely have any other forms of technology. - Lindsay (london)

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