Guide Eureka: How Invention Happens

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He dismisses my view that invention is a messy affair, driven by tinkering and practical accident rather than formal rigor or trained expertise.

We once rose like gamecocks over whether the steam engine could have been invented without formal thermodynamics. Technological breakthroughs are as likely to come from cranks, misfits, and amateurs as from experts, institutes, and the well-financed. First , all modern inventions have an ancient history. Jacquard was a deadbeat and dilettante by many accounts, but he stumbled upon a novel technique of instrumenting his machine with punched cards, and the rest is history.

Second, the inventor who makes the breakthrough is often an amateur. The self-trained tinkerer made radio work, even while not entirely understanding the science.

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Reality disagreed. Third, the wisest and most knowledgeable of scientists and philosophers will have declared the dream impossible right up to the moment it is shown to be feasible. Best Of British. Bibliophile publications and eBooks.

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Lucky Dip Clearance. Modern Fiction. New Arrivals. I have always said "there is an invention in all of us". This book not only amuses and informs, but will give heart to anyone who has ideas of their own. He takes five icons of modern technology — the aeroplane, the television, the bar code, the personal computer, and the mobile phone — and shows that their histories and inventions are wonderfully complex and historically rich.

Eureka: How Invention Happens

He explains complicated science and technology with great facility. Who would have thought that the history of the bar code could be so fascinating? Often self-taught and short of funds, they had the imagination and determination to keep on with their experiments, undeterred by the risk of being labelled cranks or crackpots. Their work ultimately led to the five world-changing inventions Weightman takes as his starting point.

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Putting these visionaries centre-stage, he leads us through the maze of fascinating experiments, breakthroughs, and occasional disasters that led to the "Eureka! I read this book with great pleasure, savouring equally the stories of surprisingly circuitous technological development and the uncommonly interesting human beings involved. Also of Interest.