Many great innovations have sprung from ‘crazy’ ideas. What people perceive as ‘stupid’ have become life-changing inventions and discoveries. When Galileo said that the earth revolves around the sun, he was prosecuted for challenging Church orthodoxy that the Earth was the immovable center of the universe. His ‘crazy’ idea changed astrophysics for every.
Hundreds of seemingly off-the-wall or laughter-inducing products become big hits for their inventors because they’re big hits with consumers. One such thing is silly putty, a toy based on silicone polymers that bounces but breaks when given a sharp blow. The unusual putty was created In 1943, a General Electric engineer James Wright was working on developing synthetic rubber due to natural rubber shortage during World War 2, when he created the putty. For the next five years people struggled to find a practical application for the slimy putty, until a toy shop owner got her hands on the stuff and saw that it could be used for entertainment rather than industry.
Recently, the Ig Nobel prizes were given to whacky researches that includes ‘Does Pizza Protect Against Cancer?’; ‘Estimation of the total saliva volume produced in five-year-old children’; ‘How Do Wombats Make Cubed Poo?’ and an invention — a diaper-changing machine.
Instituted in 1991, the Ig Nobel Prize is given to ‘unusual’ or ‘trivial’ achievements in scientific research. Why are ideas that are out of the box or different from what people see as normal laughed at? Perhaps, most of us are so wrapped up in our own limited knowledge that we are unable to look at the other’s point of view without being judgemental. As Swami Sukhabodhananda says, if the mind is caught in ‘this alone is the right answer’, it results in dogma and fanatism.
German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer said, “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident”.
Many people have the problem of hypersalivation; it is not a medical condition, but reflects an underlying problem. Some others suffer from swelling of the salivary glands or decrease in salivation. The work of the Japanese scientist and his team who researched on how much saliva do five-year-olds generate, may sound crazy and trivial, but who knows, their research may be of use some day to find an effective treatment for people with salivation
Though it is a good idea to laugh at oneself, let us not forget that thinking out of the box has led to great inventions and discoveries. Greatest discoveries have sprung from accidents, disasters and so-called silly ideas.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper