12 Questions That Changed Everything (and 1 Statement That Will)
Friday, March 14, is Question Day 2014, inspired by the innovative and inquiring mind of Albert Einstein (whose birthday is March 14). To demonstrate the power of Questioning, here are 12 life-changing questions, all explored in Warren Berger’s A MORE BEAUTIFUL QUESTION
“Why do we have to wait for the picture?”
Edwin Land’s young daughter asked him this during a family vacation in 1943. He went on to invent the first Polaroid camera.
"Why aren't the players urinating more?"
University of Florida football coach Dwayne Douglas noticed that even though his players were drinking water, they were sweating it away and getting dehydrated. His question engaged a university scientist, who created the fluid-replenishment drink that became Gatorade and launched a $20 billion industry (and the infamous "Gatorade Bath")
“What if we combine all of these into one?”
“Can animation be cuddly?”
The question that started Pixar. This world-famous animation studio went on to create blockbusters such as Toy Story, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and iconic cuddly characters like Woody, Dory, and WALL-E.
“Why can't they build a better foot?”
“What if a video-rental business were run like a health club?”
When you're binge-watching the new season of House of Cards this weekend, you can thank Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, whose question has led to a personal net worth of around $280 million.
“Could the energy from the radio waves be used to actually cook food?”
While working on highly powerful radars during WWII, engineer Percy Spencer found that the candy bar he had in his pocket had melted after he stood next to a magnetron one day. He investigated with popcorn kernels the next day...which makes him the first person to eat microwave popcorn!
“What if I could paint over my mistakes while typing, the way I do when painting?”
“Why doesn’t someone create a device to remove this snow!?’
As a tourist from Alabama visiting NYC in 1902, Mary Anderson watched her street-car driver struggle to see through his snow-covered windshield. She went on to design the windshield wiper.
“What if Morse code could be adapted graphically?”
In the 1940s, Drexel University business student Joseph Woodland set out to find a better way to manage product inventory. The former Boy Scout then had the revelation that the dots and dashes of the Morse Code communication system could be represented by long and short lines, leading to the creation of the ubiquitous bar code.
“What’s your beautiful question?”
“The important thing...is not to stop questioning.”
Actually part of a longer Albert Einstein quote, which ends with the line: “Never lose a holy curiosity.” Einstein thought questioning and curiosity were the keys to learning and breakthroughs.