In light of the claim that inflatable cars are set to become the vehicle of the future, Null Hypothesis has found a long and distinguished list of inventions that were poo pooed by esteemed individuals, only for the product to become a raging success.
This `telephone’ has too many shortcomings to be seriously considered as a practical form of communication. The device is inherently of no value to us.
– Western Union internal memo, 1878
Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.
– Lord Kelvin (1824-1907) British mathematician and physicist
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 (1793-1859) Professor of Natural Philosophy and Astronomy
There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.
– Ken Olson, President of Digital Corporation, 1977
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, 1926
There is growing evidence that smoking has pharmacological effects that are of real value to smokers.
– President of Philip Morris, Inc., 1962
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
X-rays are a hoax.
– Lord Kelvin, ca. 1900
‘With regard to the electric light, much has been said for and against it, but I think I may say without contradiction that when the Paris Exhibition closes, electric light will close with it, and no more will be heard of it.’
– Erasmus Wilson, Oxford University professor, 1878
Louis Pasteur’s theory of germs is a ridiculous fiction.
– Pierre Pachet, Professor Physiology, Toulouse, 1872