"Кто придумал телефон?"
Translation:Who invented the telephone?
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'Who invented the telephone?' is correct. You would only use 'did' for emphasis. For example 'If it wasn't Alexander Graham Bell, then who did invent the telephone?
As a native English speaker I sense a slight difference in meaning between изобрести and придумать, since thanks to the example above about law, it's clear laws are not invented, but 'thought up'..
Придумать - to think sth up, to come up with, to make up
Изобрести - to invent
Hope that helps.
Because in this case we are talking about a known, and therefore definite, object. It’s the same as saying, ‘we shouldn’t reinvent the wheel’. Since something has been invented it is assumed to be known. If we were to use ‘a’ (indefinite), it could mean any phone (and immediately we need more information). Compare: “Apple invented the smartphone.” “Apple invented a phone that allowed people to interface with a large number of powerful applications via a touchscreen while retaining core functionality.” Hope that helps.