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RESEARCH AND INVENTION
WITH AN APPENDIX OF PROBLEMS
NEVIL MONROE HOPKINS, M.Sc., Ph.D
Experimental and Research Engineer
Technical Research, U. S. A., Assistant Professor The
George Washington University, Washington, D. C.
MERICA now undoubtedly stands upon the golden threshold of her greatest
era of industrial research, invention and development.
Will she profit by her powerful strategic position, and develop her full possibilities as the horrors of the great war fade into gray ghosts of the past? Germany, undoubtedly the greatest organized research nation in the world, before her rulers criminally elected war, and attempted her abhorrent world domination, has enjoyed her ascendency, and now, with prompt and efficient action, it is possible for the United States to lead for all times in research and discovery.
We must not lose sight of the fact for a moment, however, that great German committees are now preparing elaborate programmes, and with proverbial German foresight and thoroughness for organized research and industrial warfare.
The object in writing this little book at this time is to stimulate a more general interest, not so much perhaps in what has been known as Yankee invention, but in the broader and more
comprehensive American research, and to add a tiny mite toward lifting its efficiency through indicating its charm, its national worth at this time, the educational requirements to those new in the field, and in pointing out the reasons for loss in efficiency through misconceptions, intense duplication work, and the many snares and pitfalls awaiting the unwary inventor. Major General William M. Black, Chief of Engineers, United States Army, pointed out that the Government in Washington was simply deluged with suggestions and so-called inventions from all over the country for the winning of the war.
The records show that about 98 per cent of all the inventions examined were declared to be without military value and that time and labor have been thrown away by men eager to help, but entirely ignorant of the history and conditions of warfare.
It is also pointed out that the Naval Consulting Board had sixty thousand inventions submitted with but substantially the same low average of practical merit. The same inefficiency occurs in times of peace through tens of thousands of men working upon problems, in the history and conditions of which they are equally ignorant, and moreover they are frequently working upon problems they are not educationally equipped to develop.