Quotes from Skeptics
What can be more
palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as
fast as stagecoaches?
The Quarterly Review, England (March 1825)
The abolishment of
pain in surgery is a chimera. It is absurd to go on seeking it. . . . Knife and
pain are two words in surgery that must forever be associated in the
consciousness of the patient.
Dr. Alfred Velpeau (1839) French surgeon
Men might as well
project a voyage to the Moon as attempt to employ steam navigation against the
stormy North Atlantic Ocean.
Dr. Dionysus Lardner (1838) Professor of Natural Philosophy and
Astronomy, University College, London
The foolish idea of
shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd length to which vicious
specialization will carry scientists working in thought-tight compartments.
A.W. Bickerton (1926) Professor of Physics and Chemistry, Canterbury
College, New Zealand
[W]hen the Paris
Exhibition closes electric light will close with it and no more be heard of.
Erasmus Wilson (1878) Professor at Oxford University
Well informed people
know it is impossible to transmit the voice over wires and that were it possible
to do so, the thing would be of no practical value.
Editorial in the Boston Post (1865)
That the automobile
has practically reached the limit of its development is suggested by the fact
that during the past year no improvements of a radical nature have been
Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909
flying machines are impossible.
Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist
Radio has no future
- Lord Kelvin, ca. 1897.
and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I
consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time
Lee DeForest, 1926 (American radio pioneer)
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.
Where a calculator on
the ENIAC is equipped with 19,000 vacuum tubes and weighs 30 tons, computers in
the future may have only 1,000 vacuum tubes and perhaps only weigh 1.5 tons.
Popular Mechanics, March 1949.
There is no need for
any individual to have a computer in their home.
Ken Olson, 1977, President, Digital Equipment Corp.
I think there is a
world market for maybe five computers.
Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943.
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 lastout the year.
The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957.
But what ... is it
Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968,
commenting on the microchip.
Inventions have long since reached their limit, and I see no hope for further developments.
10 A.D., Roman Engineer Julius
Thatís an amazing invention, but who would ever want to use one of them?
President Rutherford B. Hayes
in 1876, after Alexander Graham Bell
demonstrated the telephone to him at the White House.
Harry Warner, president
of Warner Brothers Studios, 1918.
made a grave mistake when he gave up pitching. Working once a week, he might
have lasted a long time and become a great star
Tris Speaker on Babe
Ruth's future, 1921.
that can be invented has been invented.
Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899
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