Weird Research, Anomalous Physics

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The following is a spontaneous e-mail growth, passed to me by Uncle Al. Putting it on www kills it, like putting the pin through the butterfly. There must be other ones still flitting around somewhere...



" many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could
find hitherto unknown lands of any value."  - committee advising Ferdinand
and Isabella regarding Columbus' proposal, 1486

"I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors lied, than that stones
fell from the sky" - Thomas Jefferson, 1807 on hearing an eyewitness 
report of falling meteorites.

"Drill for oil?  You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil?  
You're crazy." - Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his 
project to drill for oil in 1859.

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." - Pierre 
Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the 
intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." - Sir John Eric Ericksen, 
British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 

"This 'telephone' has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered 
as a means of communication.  The device is inherently of no value to 
us." - Western Union internal memo, 1876. I'VE HEARD ONE REPORT THAT THIS

"Such startling announcements as these should be deprecated as being
unworthy of science and mischievious to to its true progress" - Sir
William Siemens, 1880, on Edison's announcement of a sucessful light bulb.

"We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy." -
Simon Newcomb, astronomer, 1888

"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time.  Nobody
will use it, ever." - Thomas Edison, 1889

"Everything that can be invented has been invented." - Charles H. 
Duell, Commissioner, U.S. Office of Patents, 1899. NO, THIS WAS A

"The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have
all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the
possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new
discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be
looked for in the sixth place of decimals."  - physicist Albert. A. 
Michelson, 1894

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible." - Lord Kelvin, 
president, Royal Society, 1895.

"It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two
or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying
machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere." 
- Thomas Edison, 1895

"The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known
forms of machinery, and known forms of force can be united in a
practicable machine by which men shall fly for long distances through the
air, seems to the writer as complete as it is possible for the
demonstration of any physical fact to be."  - astronomer S. Newcomb, 1906

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." - Marechal 
Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.

"Caterpillar landships are idiotic and useless.  Those officers and men
are wasting their time and are not pulling their proper weight in the war"
- Fourth Lord of the British Admiralty, 1915, in regards to use of tanks
in war.

"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and 
reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against 
which to react.  He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily 
in high schools." - 1921 New York Times editorial about Robert 
Goddard's revolutionary rocket work.

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value.   Who 
would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David 
Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in  the 
radio in the 1920s.

"All a trick."  "A Mere Mountebank."  "Absolute swindler."  "Doesn't know
what he's about."  "What's the good of it?"  "What useful purpose will it
serve?" - Members of Britain's Royal Society, 1926, after a demonstration
of television.

"This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd
lengths to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists." 
  -A.W. Bickerton, physicist, NZ, 1926

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - H.M. Warner, Warner 
Brothers, 1927.

"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - 
Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be
obtainable.  It would mean that the atom would have to be shattered at
will."    -- Albert Einstein, 1932

"The energy produced by the atom is a very poor kind of thing.  Anyone who
expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is
talking moonshine" - Ernst Rutherford, 1933

"The whole procedure [of shooting rockets into space]...presents
difficulties of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss the
notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author's insistent
appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the supposed impossibility
of heavier-than-air flight before it was actually accomplished."  Richard
van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer, reviewing P.E. Cleator's "Rockets
in Space", Nature, March 14, 1936

"Space travel is utter bilge!" -Sir Richard Van Der Riet Wolley, astronomer

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers." - Thomas 
Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943   
[ debunked in "The Maverick and His Machine"]

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons." - Popular 
Mechanics, forecasting the relentless march of science, 1949

"I have traveled the length and breadth of this country and talked 
with the best people, and I can assure you that data processing is a 
fad that won't last out the year." - The editor in charge of business 
books for Prentice Hall, 1957

"Space travel is bunk" -Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of
Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik

"There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be
used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio
service inside the Unided States." -T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - 
Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962.

"But what... is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing 
Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken 
Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 

"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn 
better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." - A Yale University 
management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper  proposing 
reliable overnight delivery service.  (Smith went on to found Federal 
Express Corp.)

"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not 
Gary Cooper." - Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading 
role in"Gone With The Wind."

"A cookie store is a bad idea.  Besides, the market research reports 
say America likes crispy cookies, not soft and chewy cookies like you 
make." - Response to Debbi Fields' idea of starting Mrs. Fields' 

"If I had thought about it, I wouldn't have done the experiment.  The 
literature was full of examples that said you can't do this." - 
Spencer Silver on the work that led to the unique adhesives for 3M 
"Post-It" Notepads.

"So we went to Atari and said, 'Hey, we've got this amazing thing, 
even built with some of your parts, and what do you think about 
funding us? Or we'll give it to you.  We just want to do it.  Pay our 
salary, we'll come work for you.'  And they said, 'No.' So then we 
went to Hewlett-Packard, and they said, 'Hey, we don't need you.  You 
haven't got through college yet.'" - Apple Computer Inc. founder Steve 
Jobs on attempts to get Atari and H-P interested in his and Steve 
Wozniak's personal computer.

"You want to have consistent and uniform muscle development across all 
of your muscles? It can't be done.  It's just a fact of life.  You 
just have to accept inconsistent muscle development as an unalterable 
condition of weight training." - Response to Arthur Jones, who solved 
the "unsolvable" problem by inventing Nautilus.

"640K ought to be enough for anybody." - Bill Gates, 1981

Thanks to for passing this 'net-rumor'
collaborative email collection along to me.
Created and maintained by Bill Beaty.
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