Monday, July 7, 2014

Scientist Freeman Dyson: trial and error created the bicycle

In a 1998 interview in Wired Magazine, Stewart Brand asked the famed physicist his thoughts on failure:

You can't possibly get a good technology going without an enormous number of failures. It's a universal rule. If you look at bicycles, there were thousands of weird models built and tried before they found the one that really worked. You could never design a bicycle theoretically. Even now, after we've been building them for 100 years, it's very difficult to understand just why a bicycle works - it's even difficult to formulate it as a mathematical problem. But just by trial and error, we found out how to do it, and the error was essential. The same is true of airplanes.

(Hat tip to Jeff Stibel on the Harvard Business Review Blog Network)

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