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 introduced.

-         Scientific American, Jan. 2, 1909


Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.

-         Lord Kelvin, ca. 1895, British mathematician and physicist


Radio has no future

- Lord Kelvin, ca. 1897. 

While theoretically and technically television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming.

-         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 good for?

-         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 Sextus Frontinus


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.


There is no likelihood man can ever tap the power of the atom.

-         Robert Milken, Nobel Prize winner in physics, 1923



Who the hell wants to watch movies with sound?

-         Harry Warner,  president of Warner Brothers Studios, 1918.


Ruth 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. 


Everything that can be invented has been invented.

-          Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US Patent Office in 1899

  back to quotes page

Hit Counter