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Joy Of Inventing
The inventions seen in the introductory movie are bricks of a building, a building called “Progress”. Every invention is a major step in the evolution of man. Now take a look at some other examples of inventions made in the early ages yet are still in great use today. But from our standpoint, we see inventions as a source of joy. While bathing, Archimedes invented a method for measuring volumes of bodies of irregular shapes. He became so overwhelmed with joy that he ran onto the street half naked yelling "Eureka!"
Screw - Archimedes' method for measuring volume was originally intended verify the homogeneity of a king's golden crown. To your left, is an illustration of the ancient screw as described by Archimedes'. This invention, used as a water pump, allowed agriculture! You can only imagine what joy Archimedes' experienced witnessing his creation help thousands of people survive.
While examining the list of breakthroughs below, envision the joy of their creators and millions (now billions) of users of such inventions as the wheel, compass, etc.
Wheel - It is hard to imagine the world today without long distance land transport and where heavy loads had to be dragged along the ground. Thankfully, we don’t need to imagine such a world due to the wheel, which was invented about 3500 BC in Mesopotamia (now Iraq). The first wheels were often made of solid wood whose weight rendered them fairly inefficient. Not until the spoked wheel appeared did wheels become wide spread. Nowadays, cars are everywhere and land transport is efficient all thanks to an object that was invented around 5,500 years ago.
Compass - European sea travel before the 12th century was extremely dangerous and difficult, the sailors were basically blind in the sea. Chinese travelers were most likely the first to use compasses that consisted of two needles made of “magnetite” and “lodestone”. They referred to their compasses as “south-pointers”. Around. When the compass finally did get to Europe, the type of compass we are familiar with today has largely replaced the Chinese compass -two needles on a floating base.
Transistor - Before the transistor was invented, electronic equipment was unreliable and cumbersome. The main reason for this were devices called “valves”, which were vacuum tubes used to turn the electric current on and off. Valves were large, unreliable and tended to heat up. A computer needed thousands of valves, which forced it to take room proportions. In 1947, John Bardeen, Walter Brattain and William Shockley created the transistor- a small reliable device that has gotten so tiny that today it is invisible to the human eye. Transistors shrunk the cumbersome size of many electrical appliances and allowed the production of laptops and other portable electronics. The "transistor team" was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physics for their breakthrough. To become an electricity expert, visit another online educational tool, Electricity Online.
As you can see, inventing is a very enjoyable activity; from President of the United States to railroad workers, women and children, everybody can be a "consumer of joy". You can start inventing anytime. Trust us, there is enough joy in the world for everybody!
The only President of the United States ever granted a patent was Abraham Lincoln. His patent (#6,469) reads, “Be it known that I, Abraham Lincoln, … have invented a new and improved manner of combining adjustable buoyant air chambers with a steamboat or other vessel for the purpose of enabling… them to pass over bars or through shallow water…” Young Lincoln’s idea was inspired on a flatboat trip during which he encountered the troubles faced by navigators on shoals. Although Lincoln’s invention was never implemented, he expressed great concern for the patent system. “The patent system,” Lincoln said, “secured to the inventor for a limited time exclusive use of his invention and added the fuel of interest to the fire of genius in the discovery and production of new and useful things. Today, if you go to the Department of Commerce building in Washington, D.C., you will see the following inscription engraved in stone: “Abraham Lincoln, first and only President of the United States to patent an invention, whittled out a model in his spare time.”
Inventing joy is not a privilege to those working in labs or United States Presidents. In fact, invention can be made by anyone, anytime, anyplace. Below, you will find an example of how a railroad worker solved a crisis by improving the simplest object: washer!
In the 19th century, the number of railroad accidents in the United States plummeted. The reason for that was the increased speed and travel on the tracks. More travel equals more vibration and therefore washers that held the tracks together got loose. Special people were hired to tighten up these washers but the number of these workers did not correlate with the demand. Since railroad companies could not afford to hire a humongous number of railroad workers just for this purpose, they sought another solution, a better washer. The railroad companies launched a contest (with the prize being a large sum of money) in hopes of finding a reliable and most importantly cheap washer. All entries were of a complex construction that would require a humongous financial investment. The winner was a railroad worked named Grover who suggested placing between the regular washer and the rail a spring washer, which could be manufactured out of the regular type by cutting it in one place and bending the created ends one up and one down. The force of the spring pushing against the washer and the rail assures that the washer stays in place. Grover, a simple railroad worker, created a totally different kind of washer construction that is used worldwide today.
Grover’s washer is of a very simple construction. Can YOU improve it??
Writers also invent. For example, Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens), the greatest American humorist received several patents including his “self-pasting” scrapbook with gummed pages of inserts. The patent application, granted June 24, 1873, was titled “Improvements in Scrap-Books”.
Most of us are now familiar with inventions such as the wheel, transistor, etc. However, what may be overlooked is that numerous inventions are simply RIDICULOUS! Inventions for which poor marketing was provided or wasn't provided at all. To avoid such a misuse of time and resources (and being placed on our Ridiculous Inventions page), visit our marketing section.
Another type of joy of inventing can be received by simply viewing a few humorous, yet real, inventions.
Shooting around the corners can be "an entertaining sport and valuable protection form the enemies of society".
A piece of clothing for protection from the sun, snow and rain. The hat part is about three feet in diameter and is supported from the wearer’s waist and shoulders. The hat may be worn separately from the waterproof garment for shade and fresh air, or the waterproof garment may be suspended from it, with a window in front of the face.
It is of high importance to provide mannered greetings to your fellows or simply people on the street. Devices above "simplify" this "challenging" task.
The patent office never knowingly grants patents for perpetual motion, but some have slipped by under other titles. John Sutliff of Huntsville, Missouri received a patent in 1882 for what was simply titled “Motor”. It had a water tank, a lever, a bulb filled with air and several moving parts but no fuel or other source of power (U.S. patent 257,103).
Claims for “eternal engines” are submitted constantly by people who are completely sure they solved the secret behind the eternal engine. This assuredness is based on their everyday experiences. Every morning, they watch the sun rise and set. This process continues for the length of their lives; nothing changes. Therefore people start to believe that eternal motion exists and therefore it should be possible to build a system that doesn’t lose energy during its cycle, in other words a system that will work eternally.
Conclusion - this is a logical conclusion called an induction, or to be exact, an incomplete induction because the human life, unfortunately, is rather short compared to the life of the solar system. Such a large number of people claimed to have found the secret of perpetual motion, that the Paris Academy refused to accept such “discoveries” even into consideration. We would like to introduce you to one machine, which was found among the United States patents using keywords: “perpetual motion”. This machine is proposed in US patent 4215330 under the title “Permanent magnet propulsion system”. You will notice that in the patent, words such as perpetual will not be found. Instead, the authors used the word permanent, which means that something starts... yet never ends. With the link provided, open this patent and exercise your own judgment, as well as your knowledge and skills in physics.
To learn more about the human mistakes and the laws of proper thinking, visit our Logic section.
How is that “fire of genius” lit? Why do inventors Invent? For profit? Inspiration? Call from God? Necessity?...
Abraham Lincoln’s motive was simple - to fulfill a need - to prevent boats from running around (getting stuck) river shoals? Goodyear, on the other hand, believed that he had a call from God. Many simply wanted to get rich using only their inventive talents. We also want to note another very important motive: a dream formed during childhood. Let’s take a look at two such examples:
Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890), was born in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin, Germany and during his early schooling, just like many of us, he read Homer’s epics such as The Odyssey. During this time, Homer’s epics were taught as works of pure fiction. However, young Heinrich was so intrigued and taken by these epics that from that moment he became determined to prove the accuracy of the geographical locations and events described in the epics through archaeological excavation. Heinrich developed a dream! From that point on, the purpose of Heinrich Schliemann’s life was clear: to discover the locations described in Homer’s epics. His formal education ended at 14 when he was apprenticed to a grocer. He then married and became a successful businessman in Russia. In 1850 Heinrich Schliemann became a citizen of the United States while living in California and after retiring in 1863 with a large fortune, he devoted his life to the fulfillment of his boyhood dream. In 1870 Schliemann began excavations on the hill of Hissarlik, Turkey, where he hoped to find the remains of the ancient city of Troy. After discovering several layers of cities, Schliemann proclaimed the second layer from the bottom to be the city of Troy. However, it was later discovered that the ruins were actually of an earlier settlement and that the Homeric Troy was at a higher level. From 1876 to 1885 Schliemann made great discoveries. First, he excavated the tombs of the Mycenaean kings at Mycenae, Greece and Odysseus’ homeland, Ithaca, also in Greece. Next came the excavation of the ruins of the great palace at Tiryns, Greece. Due to Schlieman’s childhood dream and determination, most scholars today know that the events and locations described by Homer have some basis in fact.
Another example is Andrew Wiles, who solved Fermat’s Last Theorem, which in turn lead to major discoveries in the fields of algebra and mathematical analysis.
Fermat’s Last Theorem was proposed by a French mathematician named Pierre de Fermat. While reviewing the work of Diophantus, the great Greek mathematician, Fermat became interested in the chapter on Pythagorean triples - sets of three numbers, a, b, and c, that satisfy the following equation: a2 + b2 = c2. While many of us have learned the Pythagorean theorem, few if any have ever thought of what lies beyond the squared variables. Fermat, on the other hand, became deeply interested and formed a theorem, which read that a set of positive integers a, b, and c does not exist to satisfy an + bn = cn, where n is any number greater than 2 (a3 + b3 = c3 for example).
Fermat’s simple theorem turned out to be surprisingly difficult to prove (revise). Generations of mathematicians devoted their lives to prove Fermat’s statement true or to disprove it by presenting an exception. 350 years passed before a proof was found.
When he was 10 years of age, Andrew Wiles visited the local public library in London. There he looked at a book on mathematics in which he read about Fermat’s last theorem. This theorem seemed so simple that even a child could understand it. In Wiles’ own words: “It said that you will never find numbers, x, y, and z, so that x3 + y3 = z3. No matter how hard you tried, you will never, ever find such numbers. And it said the same was true for x4 + y4 = z4, x5 + y5 = z5 and so on… It seemed so simple. And it said that nobody has ever found a proof of this for over three hundred years. I wanted to prove it…”
In the 1970’s, after receiving his degree, Wiles was admitted as a research student in mathematics to Cambridge. Unfortunately, Wiles had to instantly drop his childhood dream of proving Fermat’s Last Theorem for a number of reasons. First, research on this problem that has been unsolved for generations, would take so much time that no graduate student could afford it. Besides, would a student working on such an ancient puzzle be accepted, a puzzle that had kept the world’s brightest minds from a solution? Also, Fermat was not in fashion. So Wiles abandoned his dream and spent all his time doing research on elliptical curves, which were the hot topic at the time. After receiving his Ph.D., he got a position in mathematics at Princeton University and moved to the United States, where he resumed his research on elliptical curves. Several years later, Wiles was accidentally reminded about Fermat’s theorem. Immediately, Wiles knew that his life was about to change. Now that he had established himself, he could devote time to finding the solution, his boyhood dream. Wiles decided to work in complete isolation, because too many spectators would ruin his concentration and other people are always willing to finish your work for you, especially at a place like Princeton, where gifted, able mathematicians are abound. Whatever the reason, Wiles isolated himself in his attic office and buried himself in work. He abandoned all other ongoing research and devoted himself completely to Fermat. After six years of working alone and making moderate strides, he felt a need for comparing notes and opinions with another person. In January of 1993, such a trustworthy person was found, Professor Nick Katz, a Princeton colleague. Katz was completely trustworthy; he would most certainly keep his mouth shut. To make their continuous meetings and talks seem innocent, Wiles devised a scheme. He would initiate a new course, called “Calculations with Elliptic Curves,” and Katz would enroll as a student. Soon, other students started to drift away because they found no interest in a challenging course that was not going anywhere. The only “student” who seemed to know anything and participate at all was Katz. After other breakthroughs in the related fields and 10 years of continuous work, Wiles was finally ready. The pieces of the puzzle fell together. Also, a number theory conference was to be hosted in Cambridge. The biggest names would unquestionably be present. Usually, after a discovery such as this, the material for the proof would be provided to journals, which in turn would contact their experts to confirm the accuracy of the proof. Wiles wished to avoid this process, where his proof would be in many hands (which could easily take his proof and publish it under his or her name), and therefore, decided to present his proof at the conference. After putting in enormous effort and writing 200 pages explaining his proof, Wiles bought a ticket to Cambridge, England. After being received with stunning the audience, Katz found a hole in the proof. However, Katz quickly solved it and now, Fermat’s last theorem is unproven no more! Mathematicians devoted their whole lives to this cause, yet no one, not a single soul was able to solve this theorem for 350 years, until a little boy named Andrew Wiles gave birth to a dream, a dream of solving Fermat’s Last Theorem. Also, Wiles’ solution paved the way towards further mathematical discoveries.
Importance of Children's Questions
Polaroid is one of the more famous inventions of the 20th century. The creator of Polaroid, Edwin Land, lived a long life that begun nine years after the beginning of the 20th century and ended 9 years before its end. When he retired in 1982, Land had 537 U.S. patents that were also patented in other countries. In the history of invention, only one man, Thomas Edison, had more patents. Most of his well-known patents deal with devices and technologies based on the polarization of light. The phenomenon of polarization of light has been actually mentioned in scientific literature since 1812, but was the pioneer of its technical realization. Based on Land’s inventions is “Polaroid” and the technology of instant pictures. Land was not only one of the greatest inventors of our time, but also an energetic initiator. For the duration of 40 years, he served as the president, a chairman, and the head engineer of “Polaroid”. Born in the garage of Kelbridge, “Polaroid” grew into an enormous corporation in the 1980’s. Land was one of the first industrialists to realize the importance of innovation? in the development of a corporation. As an inventor and an expert, heading a secret department for espionage during Eisenhower’s administration, Land greatly contributed to the development of secret satellites, which from 1960 sent images to Earth from the orbit. Land proved himself to be a brilliant student, capable of scientific research work. During this time, he became deeply interested in the polarization of light and created his first invention - a lens for automobile lights that prevents blinding of other drivers. A company based by Land in 1932, “Land-Wheelwright Laboratories”, manufactured this lens. After its liquidation, in 1937, Land based a second company, the famous “Polaroid”. The idea of instant picture development was given to Land by his 3-year old daughter, when during a walk in the park she asked: why can’t you give me the picture you just took. As Land later wrote, during that walk in the park, he pondered this problem and came up with the principal solution, dealing with the three basic components of the camera and the development process. In 1947, he presented a one-of-a-kind example, and production began in 1948. By the middle of the 60’s, half of the American families owned a “Polaroid”.
Eduard Land belongs to a brilliant group of inventors, scientists and industrialists that turn ideas into reality.
Conclusion: To realize his “American dream”, Land used:
Knowledge - polarization of light, etc.
Talents - finding the solution
Hard work - it took years to realize his inventions
Chance - the problem of instant picture development was presented by his daughter
This is a great example of how chance lead to an invention. Can it be that inventions can be made only with the help of chance? This question will be answered by a famous French biologist Lui Paster: “Chance favors the prepared mind.” To find out more about the role of chance in inventing, click on Paster’s words.
As you have noticed, the inventions mentioned above tended to be created by adults. It might even seem as if this knowledge is given to you too far in advance and will only be needed in your future. However, this assumption logically incorrect. People of all ages can create something novel and “become an inventor” as promised by the title of the present website.
Take a look at some examples of inventions created by people your age:
Farmers often face a problem with gathering their developed potato crop. The process is very time-consuming, because the farmers are able to gather only one or two potatoes at a time. A junior high school student found a clever solution. While visiting his grandmother's farm, he observed the planting of potatoes. Then he placed one potato seed in an old stocking. Once it was time for harvest, the young inventor noticed that the potatoes grew just as well as others, however, to gather the crop, he had to only pull the stocking. This system was then developed into planting potatoes in nets, which are connected together with a rope, and a bypassing truck would pull the rope and the whole potato crop would end up in the bed of the truck.
A simple example of a strong solution was proposed by a junior high school student from the Republic of Belarus. While visiting St. Petersburg, (a Russian city with river “Neva”), he witnessed how drawbridges separate into two parts that are raised to let a ship pass through. The young inventor asked himself a question: is there a way to allow ships to pass by using the energy of the water? The solution soon followed. He proposed placing the bridge on a large column on which the bridge can turn and attaching descending platforms to two section. To allow a ship to pass through, a platform on one section would be descended into the water, and the flow would naturally rotate the bridge perpendicularly to its original position. To rotate the bridge to allow traffic, a platform on the other section would descend. Isn’t it a clever solution?
From the stories above, we can conclude that inventions often start from the simplest questions: why and how. The answer to the question why brings explanations, scientific discoveries and for the best answers, Nobel Prizes. The answer to the question how brings inventions, and for the best answers… lots of money.
As informed in Russian newspaper "Izvestia" on July 27, 2000, The 2000 World Champion in Physics (among high school students) became Alesha Vakhov, graduate of Perm School #146 (Russian Federation). The ground of his success is his relationship with the surrounding world. He explained that he likes to notice things that are ignored by others (question why), and find answers to those questions (question how). For example, why kettle makes noise while the water boils. Why during cold weather, cars exhaust thinker gases? Why 24 frames per second on our televisions appear as a smooth, continuous image?
The questions why and how can lead to define lives, bring purpose to your existence, and bring joy, success and money, if you please.
Read over the stories of Heinrich Schliemann and Andrew Wiles. Reading these materials, you will see how these men asked the key questions at such an early age and found direction in their lives, which brought them to success and benefit to people all over the world.
To ask the key questions, you don’t need special equipment, premises, environment, etc. Discoveries and inventions can be made anywhere, even in… your bathtub!
Let’s make our conclusion together:
We hope you enjoyed traveling through this section. We assure you that the rest of our website will entertain you just as much. Finally, we wish for you to enjoy your own inventions, which you will be able to create using the knowledge contained on the present website and its online links.
Become An Inventor
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