In defense of NASA: was Re: Wirin' up blinkenlights

From: Don Maslin <>
Date: Sat Jun 10 00:33:45 2000

On Fri, 9 Jun 2000, Richard Erlacher wrote:

> Without getting into detail, which would require I refresh my memory about a
> number of these examples, I'd point out that EPOXY is one that came about by
> accident, although there are many others. I'd be surprised to find that
> someone set out to build a semiconductor, knowing that the physical
> chemistry of the substances involved, and that people, though they knew in
> advance that such things could be done, simply hadn't bothered for one
> reason or another. Likewise, I recently saw a PBS program that went into
> some detail about the invention of RADAR. That certainly wasn't planned out
> in advance. Nobel (according to another PBS program) didn't set about to
> invent Nitrogycerin, nor, knowing about nitrogycerine, did he set out to
> invent nitrocellulose, And, of course, there's the Post-It. That certainly
> was an accident, resulting from a spill, according to the inventor, who was
> interviewed on an NPR program.
And don't overlook one Charles Goodyear. If he had not accidentally
dropped a sample of latex laced with carbon black on a hot stove, we
might still be on wooden wheels with iron treads.

                                                 - don

Received on Sat Jun 10 2000 - 00:33:45 BST

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