A truth.....

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by KL7AJ, Apr 16, 2018.

  1. KL7AJ

    Thread Starter AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 4, 2008
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    One of the greatest and most persistent lies we've been told is that "Necessity is the Mother of Invention." This platitude has been propagated by folks who have never invented anything. The fact of the matter is that nearly all innovation is not the result of an attempt to solve a problem, but rather the happy result of some experiment having gone badly awry. Scientific history fully bears this out.
     
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  2. AlbertHall

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    Some are the products of necessity. The bouncing bomb?
     
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  3. Tonyr1084

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    Sep 24, 2015
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    LOVE IT!

    As to whether necessity propagates invention - I have to agree that though many scientific breakthroughs have been the result of accidental discovery, it was almost always driven by a need to solve a problem. i.e. the bouncing bomb, a great and innovative solution to a problem where the need was to destroy a German dam.

    Sometimes things are accidents. But those accidents don't just happen. They happen because someone is trying to solve a problem. Sometimes the problem is a silly one, still, the results of accidental discovery have been a twin of sorts to the sought goal of the inventor. Accidental discovery of Pink Polly for instance. The scientist wasn't trying to invent it. But due to being too tired to clean a beaker he discovered a substance that resisted the buildup of static electricity. I don't recall what it was he was attempting to invent, but as a twin offspring Pink Polly was born.
     
  4. Raymond Genovese

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    "If necessity is the mother of invention, then laziness is the father." attributed, without citation, to engineer Allen Dale.
     
  5. ebp

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    Feb 8, 2018
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    A statement like that can only come from someone who has no clue about science. It rates right up there with "evolution is only a theory" and the kind of utter nonsense frequently found on "alternative" medicine sites.
     
  6. jpanhalt

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    Jan 18, 2008
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    I tend to disagree. True, Silly Putty was an accident. Power brakes and steering , the airplane, jet engine, television, radio and on and on were not.

    I will agree that many inventions do have applications that the inventors did not dream of at the time.
     
  7. BR-549

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    Sep 22, 2013
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    Invention is desire. I want. It's creating.

    Power brakes is just solving a problem.

    The discoveries by accident......is nature assuring us that we don't know what we're doing.
     
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  8. WBahn

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    Mar 31, 2012
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    The claim that scientific history fully bears this out is just that, an unsupported claim.

    While I certainly agree that serendipity has been the source of many useful discoveries and inventions, I think it is a long stretch to claim that "nearly all innovation" falls into that category. LOTS of developments have come out of finding a solution for the specific problem that the solution was sought.
     
  9. BR-549

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    I have to agree with Raymond on this one. I know it drives me.
     
  10. joeyd999

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    Every one of my inventions was driven by a need.

    I suppose I am an outlier.
     
  11. nsaspook

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    Exactly, look at the discovery of LSD-25. What ever happened to LSD-1 to LSD-24?
    [​IMG]
     
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  12. joeyd999

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    Since he didn't put them in his mouth, the world may never know.
     
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  13. BR-549

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    Doesn't the need always result in less attention/labor/time/cost? We're cheap and lazy.
     
  14. jpanhalt

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    I tired very briefly to find the total number of patents issued worldwide to date. Did not find that, but from 1883 thru 1979 there were 17,748,424 according to the World IP Organization (http://www.wipo.int/ipstats/en/). I find it hard to believe that nearly all of those were the result of some experiment that went badly awry.

    Just one example, the invention/discovery of saccharin is often described as accidental. That does not mean it was an experiment that went awry. Ira Remsen was deeply involved in the study of sulfonamides. In those days, it was common for chemists to taste their products as they did not have the spectroscopic methods we have today. Thus, its sweetness was discovered, but perhaps was not expected. In any event, it was definitely not an experiment gone awry. The experiment gave exactly what it was expected to give.
     
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  15. joeyd999

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    This is cynical.

    Time and money are scarce resources. Those who invent are making more of both for all of us.
     
  16. Raymond Genovese

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    Again with the LSD spook? :)

    That is a very poor example of serendipity. His job was to find medicinal drugs that could be marketed and he was working on lysergic acid from ergot. As is typical for chemists approaching this sort of task, they start adding and subtracting to a structure hoping that he knows something important about the relevant structure-activity relationship. He played around with adding diethylamide to the structure - hoping to find a respiratory and circulatory stimulant. He found something else, which by the way, did not generate money for the company (which was the necessity) as would have been expected if he had succeeded in his initial goal. Nor can you say that LSD-25 was some kind of great invention (unless you are Tim Leary). Other similar psychedelic compounds exist naturally and predate LSD-25 by 100s of years.
     
  17. justtrying

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    Mar 9, 2011
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    Necessity drives the need to come up with creative solutions to common problems at the very least. At a time of economic collapse, there is no waste of any resource. So, yes, necessity is mother of invention, 100%
     
  18. joeyd999

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    Not great, perhaps, but Grate!

     
  19. crutschow

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    I fail to see why that innocuous bromide has you so upset.
    I can't see that it would every have had any effect on whether an invention is invented or not. :rolleyes:
     
  20. joeyd999

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    First World Problems.
     
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