Infamous Quotations

 

 

"640K ought to be enough for anybody."

-- Bill Gates, CEO and founder of Microsoft and world's wealthiest man, 1981

"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home."

-- Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC), maker of big business mainframe computers, arguing against the PC, 1977

"If anything remains more or less unchanged, it will be the role of women."

-- David Riesman, conservative American social scientist, 1967

"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out anyway."

-- President of Decca Records, rejecting The Beatles after an audition, 1962

"Transmission of documents via telephone wires is possible in principle, but the apparatus required is so expensive that it will never become
a practical proposition."

-- Dennis Gabor, British physicist and author of Inventing the Future, 1962

"There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States."

-- T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961
(the first commercial communications satellite went into service in 1965)

"The world potential market for copying machines is 5000 at most."

-- IBM , to the eventual founders of Xerox, saying the photocopier had no market large enough to justify production, 1959

"We will bury you."

-- Nikita Kruschev, Soviet Premier, predicting Soviet communism will win over
U.S. capitalism, 1958

"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 last out the year."

-- The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957

"Space travel is bunk."

-- Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of the UK, 1957
(two weeks later Sputnik orbited the Earth)

"To place a man in a multi-stage rocket and project him into the controlling gravitational field of the moon where the passengers can make scientific observations, perhaps land alive, and then return to earth--all that constitutes a wild dream worthy of Jules Verne. I am bold enough to say that such a man-made voyage will never occur regardless of all future advances."

-- Lee deForest, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1957

"Space travel is utter bilge."

-- Dr. Richard van der Reit Wooley, UK space advisor to the government, 1956
(Sputnik orbited the Earth the following year)

"You ain't going nowhere, son. You ought to go back to driving a truck."

-- Jim Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, in firing Elvis Presley after a performance, 1954

"If excessive smoking actually plays a role in the production of lung cancer, it seems to be a minor one."

-- W.C. Heuper, National Cancer Institute, 1954

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons."

-- Popular Mechanics, "predicting" the relentless march of technology, 1949

"Television won't last. It's a flash in the pan."

-- Mary Somerville, pioneer of radio educational broadcasts, 1948

"Television won't last because people will soon get tired of staring at
a plywood box every night."

-- Darryl Zanuck, movie producer, 20th Century Fox, 1946

"You better learn secretarial work or else get married."

-- Director of the Blue Book Modeling Agency, advising Marilyn Monroe, 1944

"That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done [research on]... The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives."

-- William D. Leahy, U.S. Admiral, advising President Truman on atomic
weaponry, 1944

"I think there is a world market for maybe five computers."

-- Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943

"... too far-fetched to be considered."

-- Editor of Scientific American, in a letter to Robert Goddard about Goddard's
idea of a rocket-accelerated airplane bomb, 1940
(German V2 missiles came down on London 3 years later)

"Atomic energy might be as good as our present-day explosives, but it is unlikely to produce anything very much more dangerous."

-- Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister, 1939

"A rocket will never be able to leave the Earth's atmosphere."

-- New York Times, 1936

"The energy produced by the atom is a very poor kind of thing. Anyone who expects a source of power from the transformation of these atoms is talking moonshine."

-- Ernst Rutherford, New Zealand physicist, 1933

"There is not the slightest indication that nuclear energy will ever be obtainable. It would mean the atom would have to be shattered at will."

-- Albert Einstein, German-born American physicist, 1932

"Stock prices have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau."

-- Irving Fisher, Yale University Professor of Economics, 1929
(two weeks later, the stock market crashed and the Great Depression started)

"There is no likelihood that man can ever tap the power of the atom. The glib supposition of utilizing atomic energy when our coal has run out is a completely unscientific Utopian dream, a childish bug-a-boo."

-- Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1928

"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?"

-- H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, maker of silent movies, 1927

"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, American radio pioneer and inventor of the vacuum tube, 1926

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

-- Robert Millikan, American physicist and Nobel Prize winner, 1923

"The radio craze will die out in time."

-- Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1922

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"

-- David Sarnoff, American radio pioneer, 1921

"Professor Goddard does not know the relation between action and reaction and the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react. He seems to lack the basic knowledge ladled out daily in high schools."

-- New York Times editorial about Robert Goddard's revolutionary rocket work, 1921
(note that the day after Armstrong walked on the moon in 1969, the New York
Times printed a short boxed item on page 2. It read in full:
"Errata: It has now been conclusively demonstrated that a rocket ship can
travel through the vacuum of space. The Times sincerely regrets the error."
)

"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?"

-- David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in radio, 1920s

"Taking the best left-handed pitcher in baseball and converting him into a right fielder is one of the dumbest things I ever heard."

-- Tris Speaker, baseball expert, talking about Babe Ruth, 1919

"The idea that cavalry will be replaced by these iron coaches is absurd. It is little short of treasonous."

-- Comment of Aide-de-camp to Field Marshal Haig, at tank demonstration, 1916

"Caterpillar landships are idiotic and useless. Those officers and men are wasting their time and are not pulling their proper weight in the war."

-- Fourth Lord of the British Admiralty, 1915

"Lee DeForest has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years. Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public ... has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company ..."

-- U.S. District Attorney, prosecuting Lee DeForest, American radio pioneer, for selling stock fraudulently through the mail for his Radio Telephone Company, 1913

"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 edition, 1909

"I confess that in 1901 I said to my brother Orville that man would not fly for fifty years. Two years later we ourselves made flights. This demonstration of my impotence as a prophet gave me such a shock that ever since I have distrusted myself and avoided all predictions."

-- Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, speech to the Aero Club of France, 1908

"Sensible and responsible women do not want to vote."

-- Grover Cleveland, U.S. President, 1905

"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value."

-- Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre, 1904(?)

"The horse is here to stay, the automobile is only a fad."

-- Advice of President of Michigan Savings Bank to Horace Rackham, lawyer for
Henry Ford, 1903
(Rackham ignored the advice and invested $5000 in Ford stock, selling it later
for $12.5 million)

"Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible."

-- Simon Newcomb, Canadian-born American astronomer, 1902

"Man will not fly for 50 years."

-- Wilbur Wright, American aviation pioneer, to brother Orville, after a disappointing flying experiment, 1901
(their first successful flight was in 1903)

"I am tired of all this sort of thing called science here ... We have spent millions in that sort of thing for the last few years, and it is time it should be stopped."

-- Simon Cameron, U.S. Senator, on the Smithsonian Institute, 1901

"If God had intended that man should fly, he would have given him wings."

-- Widely attributed to George W. Melville, chief engineer of the U.S. Navy, 1900

"The amount of misguided ingenuity which has been expended on these two problems of submarine and aerial navigation during the nineteenth century will offer one of the most curious and interesting studies to the future historian of technologic progress."

-- George Sutherland, American lawyer and author of 20th Century Inventions, 1900

"Radio has no future."

-- Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1897

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."

-- Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895

"X-rays will prove to be a hoax."

-- Lord Kelvin, British mathematician and physicist, president of the British Royal Society, 1895(?)

"It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere."

-- Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1895

"The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals."

-- Albert. A. Michelson, German-born American physicist, 1894

"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever."

-- Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1889
(Edison often ridiculed the arguments of competitor George Westinghouse for AC power)

"We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy."

-- Simon Newcomb, Canadian-born American astronomer, 1888

"The phonograph has no commercial value at all."

-- Thomas Edison, American inventor, 1880s

"Such startling announcements as these should be deprecated as being unworthy of science and mischievious to its true progress."

-- Sir William Siemens, on Edison's light bulb, 1880

"Everyone acquainted with the subject will recognize it as a conspicuous failure."

-- Henry Morton, president of the Stevens Institute of Technology, on Edison's
light bulb, 1880

"... good enough for our transatlantic friends ... but unworthy of the attention of practical or scientific men."

-- British Parliamentary Committee, on Edison's light bulb, 1878

"The Americans have need of the telephone, but we do not. We have
plenty of messenger boys."

-- Sir William Preece, Chief Engineer, British Post Office, 1878

"This telephone has too many shortcomings to be considered as a means of communication. The device is of inherently no value to us."

-- Western Union internal memo, 1876

"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon".

-- Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon Extraordinary to
Queen Victoria, 1873

"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction."

-- Pierre Pachet, British surgeon, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872

"It's a great invention but who would want to use it anyway?"

R-- utherford B. Hayes, U.S. President, after a demonstration of Alexander Bell's telephone, 1872

"A man has been arrested in New York for attempting to extort funds from ignorant and superstitious people by exhibiting a device which he says will convey the human voice any distance over metallic wires so that it will be heard by the listener at the other end. He calls this instrument a telephone. Well-informed people know that it is impossible to transmit the human voice over wires."

-- News item in a New York newspaper, 1868

"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."

-- Boston Post, 1865

"Dear Mr. President: The canal system of this country is being threatened by a new form of transportation known as 'railroads' ... As you may well know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of assengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed."

-- Martin Van Buren, Governor of New York, 1865(?)

"No one will pay good money to get from Berlin to Potsdam in one hour when he can ride his horse there in one day for free."

-- King William I of Prussia, on hearing of the invention of trains, 1864

"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy."

-- Drillers whom Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil, 1859

"I watched his countenance closely, to see if he was not deranged ... and I was assured by other senators after he left the room that they had no confidence in it."

U.S. Senator Smith of Indiana, after witnessing a demonstration of Samuel Morses's telegraph, 1842

"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, French surgeon, 1839

"Rail travel at high speeds is not possible because passengers, unable to breathe, would die of asphyxia."

-- Dionysius Lardner, Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy at University College, London, and author of The Steam Engine Explained and Illustrated, 1830s

"What can be more palpably absurd than the prospect held out of locomotives traveling twice as fast as stagecoaches?"

-- The Quarterly Review, March edition, 1825

"What, sir, would you make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck? I pray you, excuse me, I have not the time to listen to such nonsense."

-- Napoleon Bonaparte, when told of Robert Fulton's steamboat, 1800s

"I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors lied, than that stones fell from the sky."

-- Thomas Jefferson, U.S. President, on hearing reports of meteorites, 1790s(?)

"The view that the sun stands motionless at the center of the universe is foolish, philosophically false, utterly heretical, because contrary to Holy Scripture. The view that the earth is not the center of the universe and even has a daily rotation is philosophically false, and at least an erroneous belief."

-- Holy Office, Roman Catholic Church, ridiculing the scientific analysis that the Earth orbited the Sun in edict of March 5, 1616

"The multitude of books is a great evil. There is no limit to this fever for writing; every one must be an author; some out of vanity, to acquire celebrity and raise up a name, others for the sake of mere gain."

Martin Luther, German Reformation leader, Table Talk, 1530s(?)

"...so many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value."

-- Committee advising King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain regarding a proposal by Christopher Columbus, 1486

 

 

As you may well know, Mr. President, 'railroad' carriages are pulled at the enormous speed of 15 miles per hour by 'engines' which, in addition to endangering life and limb of passengers, roar and snort their way through the countryside, setting fire to crops, scaring the livestock and frightening women and children. The Almighty certainly never intended that people should travel at such breakneck speed.
_Martin Van Buren, then governor of New York, in a letter to President Andrew Jackson, 1829

 

Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical, and insignificant, if not utterly impossible.
_Astronomer Simon Newcomb, 1902

 

 

 

Nothing is gained by exaggerating the possibilities of tomorrow. We need not worry over the consequences of breaking up the atom.
_Engineer Floyd W. Parsons, Saturday Evening Post, 1931

 

 

 

 

 

 

: FAST COMPUTERS

"Nor are computers going to get much faster..."
_Dr Arthur L. Samuel, 'The Banishment of Paper-Work' New Scientist, 1964






MOON & GRAVITY

"There is no hope for the fanciful idea of reaching the moon, because of insurmountable barriers to escaping the earth's gravity."
_University of Chicago astronomer Dr F. R. Moulton, 1932






"It would appear we have reached the limits of what it is possible to achieve with computer technology, although one should be careful with such statements; they tend to sound pretty silly in five years."
_Computer scientist, John von Neumann, 1949






HUMAN ACTIVITY
"The main result of all these developments will be to eliminate 99 percent of human activity, and to leave our descendants faced with a future of utter boredom, where the main problem in life is deciding which of the several hundred TV channels to select."
_Arthur C. Clarke, The World of 2001, 1968


TELEPHONE

"It's only a toy."
_Gardiner Green Hubbard, a founder of the National Geographic Society and Alexander Graham Bell's future father-in-law on seeing Bell's telephone in 1876








TITANIC

"God himself could not sink this ship."
_Deckhand on the Titanic, April 10, 1912










“The practical difficulties in the way of realizing the movement of such an object [airplane] are obvious.  The aeroplane must have its propellers.  These must be driven by an engine with a source of power.  Weight is an essential quality of every engine.  The propellers must be made of metal, which has its weakness, and which is liable to give way when its speed attains a certain limit.  And, granting complete success, imagine the proud possessor of the aeroplane darting through the air at a speed of several hundred feet per second!  It is the speed alone that sustains him.  How is he ever going to stop?  Once he slackens his speed, down he begins to fall.  He may, indeed, increase the inclination of his aeroplane.  Then he increases the resistance necessary to move it.  Once he stops he falls a dead mass.  How shall he reach the ground without destroying his delicate machinery?”

[Simon Newcomb, “Outlook for the Flying Machine,” The Independent, October 22, 1903, pp. 2508, 2510-1.]
 

RE: Commercial Air Travel
“...The popular mind often pictures gigantic flying machines speeding across the Atlantic and carrying innumerable passengers in a way analogous to our modern steamships....It seems safe to say that such ideas must be wholly visionary, and even if a machine could get across with one or two passengers the expense would be prohibitive to any but the capitalist who could own his own yacht.

Another popular fallacy is to expect enormous speed to be obtained.  It must be remembered that the resistance of the air increases as the square of the speed and the work as the cube....If with 30 h.p. we can now attain a speed of 40 m.p.h., then in order to reach a speed of 100 m.p.h. we must use a motor capable of 470 h.p....it is clear that with our present devices there is no hope of competing for racing speed with either our locomotives or our automobiles.”

[William H. Pickering, astronomer, AFTER the invention of the airplane]


RE: Rocket Science
“That Professor Goddard with his ‘chair’ in Clark College and the countenancing of the Smithsonian Institution does not know the relation of action to reaction, and of the need to have something better than a vacuum against which to react — to say that would be absurd.  Of course he only seems to lack the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools....”

[New York Times, editorial, 1921]


RE: Missiles
“...too far-fetched to be considered.”

[Editor of Scientific American in letter to Robert Goddard, 1940]


RE: The Atomic Bomb
“That is the biggest fool thing we have ever done....The bomb will never go off, and I speak as an expert in explosives.”

[Admiral William Leahy to President Harry Truman, 1945]
 

RE: Radio
“De Forest [Lee de Forest, inventor of the audion tube that enables radio broadcasting] has said in many newspapers and over his signature that it would be possible to transmit the human voice across the Atlantic before many years.  Based on these absurd and deliberately misleading statements, the misguided public...has been persuaded to purchase stock in his company.”

[Prosecuting Attorney charging Lee de Forest with fraudulent use of the U.S. mails to sell the public stock in the Radio Telephone Company, 1913 — De Forest acquitted, but the judge advised him “to get a common garden variety of job and stick to it.”]


RE: Railroads
“...that any general system of conveying passengers would answer, to go at a velocity exceeding 10 miles an hour, or thereabouts, is extremely improbable.”


Gas Lighting
“We thankful are that sun and moon
 Were placed so very high
That no tempestuous hand might reach
 To tear them from the sky.
Were it not so, we soon should find
 That some reforming ass
Would straight propose to snuff them out,
 And light the world with Gas.”

[Opposition rhyme to proposal to light English cities by gas, early 1800s]
 

"Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible."
           -- Lord Kelvin, 1892


"The demonstration that no possible combination of known substances, known forms of machinery and known forms of force, can be united in a practical machine by which men shall fly along distances through the air, seems to the writer as complete as it is possible for the demonstration to be."
           -- Simon Newcomb, 1900

"Flight by machines heavier than air is unpractical and insignificant, if not utterly impossible."
           -- Simon Newcomb, 1902 (eighteen months before Kitty Hawk)

"The aeroplane will never fly."
           -- Lord Haldane, Minister of War, Britain, 1907 (four years after Kitty Hawk)


Where there is no vision, the people perish."
           -- Proverbs 29:18, the King James Version of the Bible



"You would make a ship sail against the winds and currents by lighting a bonfire under her deck... I have no time for such nonsense."
           -- Napoleon (referring to Fulton's steamship)




"It is difficult to say what is impossible, for the dream of yesterday is the hope of today and reality of tomorrow."
           -- Robert H. Goddard


"Mankind will not remain on Earth forever, but in its quest for light and space will at first timidly penetrate beyond the confines of the atmosphere, and later will conquer for itself all the space near the Sun."
           -- Konstantin Tsiolkovsky

"The Earth is the cradle of mankind, but man cannot live in the cradle forever."
           -- Russian rocket pioneer Konstantin Tsiolkovski




"Taking a new step... is what people fear most."
           -- Dostoyevski


"When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the Earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return."
           -- Leonardo da Vinci



"...so many centuries after the Creation it is unlikely that anyone could find hitherto unknown lands of any value." - committee advising Ferdinand and Isabella regarding Columbus' proposal, 1486



"I would sooner believe that two Yankee professors lied, than that stones fell from the sky" - Thomas Jefferson, on hearing reports of meteorites.



"Drill for oil? You mean drill into the ground to try and find oil? You're crazy." - Drillers who Edwin L. Drake tried to enlist to his project to drill for oil in 1859.



"Louis Pasteur's theory of germs is ridiculous fiction." - Pierre Pachet, Professor of Physiology at Toulouse, 1872



"The abdomen, the chest, and the brain will forever be shut from the intrusion of the wise and humane surgeon." - Sir John Eric Ericksen, British surgeon, appointed Surgeon-Extraordinary to Queen Victoria 1873.



"Such startling announcements as these should be deprecated as being unworthy of science and mischievious to to its true progress" - Sir William Siemens, 1880, on Edison's announcement of a sucessful light bulb.



"We are probably nearing the limit of all we can know about astronomy." - Simon Newcomb, astronomer, 1888



"Fooling around with alternating current is just a waste of time. Nobody will use it, ever." - Thomas Edison, 1889



"The more important fundamental laws and facts of physical science have all been discovered, and these are now so firmly established that the possibility of their ever being supplanted in consequence of new discoveries is exceedingly remote.... Our future discoveries must be looked for in the sixth place of decimals." - physicist Albert. A. Michelson, 1894



"It is apparent to me that the possibilities of the aeroplane, which two or three years ago were thought to hold the solution to the [flying machine] problem, have been exhausted, and that we must turn elsewhere." - Thomas Edison, 1895



"Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value." - Marechal Ferdinand Foch, Professor of Strategy, Ecole Superieure de Guerre.



"Caterpillar landships are idiotic and useless. Those officers and men are wasting their time and are not pulling their proper weight in the war" - Fourth Lord of the British Admiralty, 1915, in regards to use of tanks in war.



"The wireless music box has no imaginable commercial value. Who would pay for a message sent to nobody in particular?" - David Sarnoff's associates in response to his urgings for investment in the radio in the 1920s.



"All a trick." "A Mere Mountebank." "Absolute swindler." "Doesn't know what he's about." "What's the good of it?" "What useful purpose will it serve?" - Members of Britain's Royal Society, 1926, after a demonstration of television.



"This foolish idea of shooting at the moon is an example of the absurd lengths to which vicious specialisation will carry scientists." -A.W. Bickerton, physicist, NZ, 1926



"Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?" - H.M. Warner, Warner Brothers, 1927.



"Stocks have reached what looks like a permanently high plateau." - Irving Fisher, Professor of Economics, Yale University, 1929.



"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



"The whole procedure [of shooting rockets into space]...presents difficulties of so fundamental a nature, that we are forced to dismiss the notion as essentially impracticable, in spite of the author's insistent appeal to put aside prejudice and to recollect the supposed impossibility of heavier-than-air flight before it was actually accomplished." Richard van der Riet Wooley, British astronomer, reviewing P.E. Cleator's "Rockets in Space", Nature, March 14, 1936



"Space travel is utter bilge!" -Sir Richard Van Der Riet Wolley, astronomer



"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 last out the year." - The editor in charge of business books for Prentice Hall, 1957



"Space travel is bunk" -Sir Harold Spencer Jones, Astronomer Royal of Britain, 1957, two weeks before the launch of Sputnik



"There is practically no chance communications space satellites will be used to provide better telephone, telegraph, television, or radio service inside the United States." -T. Craven, FCC Commissioner, 1961


"We don't like their sound, and guitar music is on the way out." - Decca Recording Co. rejecting the Beatles, 1962


"But what... is it good for?" - Engineer at the Advanced Computing Systems Division of IBM, 1968, commenting on the microchip.


"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home." - Ken Olson, president, chairman and founder of Digital Equipment Corp., 1977


"The concept is interesting and well-formed, but in order to earn better than a 'C,' the idea must be feasible." - A Yale University management professor in response to Fred Smith's paper proposing reliable overnight delivery service. (Smith went on to found Federal Express Corp.)


"I'm just glad it'll be Clark Gable who's falling on his face and not Gary Cooper." - Gary Cooper on his decision not to take the leading role in"Gone With The Wind."


In all fairness to those who by training are not prepared to evaluate the fundamental difficulties of going from one planet to another, or even from the earth to the moon, it must be stated that there is not the slightest possibility of such journeys. -F.R. Moulton, American astronomer (1935)


What, sir? You would make a ship sail against the wind and currents by lighting a bonfire under her decks? I pray you excuse me. I have no time to listen to such nonsense. - Napoleon Bonaparte to Robert Fulton, upon hearing of the latter's plans for a steam-powered engine.


I have not the smallest molecule of faith in aerial navigation other than ballooning. -Lord Kelvin, engineer and physicist (c. 1890)


Aerial flight is one of that class of problems with which man will never be able to cope. - Simon Newcomb, American astronomer (1903)


If God had intended that man should fly, he would have given him wings. -Widely attributed to George W. Melville, chief engineer of the U.S. Navy (c. 1900)


The view that the sun stands motionless at the center of the universe is foolish, philosophically false, utterly heretical, because contrary to Holy Scripture. The view that the earth is not the center of the universe and even has a daily rotation is philosophically false, and at least an erroneous belief. -Holy Office, Roman Catholic Church, edict of March 5, 1616.


Too bad Dr. Goddard wasn't always as appreciated when he was alive. But that's the way it goes with those resolute souls who spend their lives trying to turn wild dreams into reality.


      It really didn't matter that the New York Times in 1920 said he, "lacked the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools," or that a rocket experiment in 1929 drew the headline: "Moon Rocket Misses Target by 238,799.5 Miles."