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Home > News > Lessons from History

April 26th, 2004

Lessons from History

An article in the December 2003 Smithsonian contains a cautionary tale for U.S. nanotechnology efforts. The article, "Taking Wing: A Century of Flight", tells how America lost the lead in aviation in the decades following the Wright brothers' flight. William Pickering, an eminent Harvard astronomer, is quoted as saying in 1908: "It is doubtful if aeroplanes will ever cross the ocean. The public has greatly overestimated the possibilities of the aeroplane, imagining that in another generation they will be able to fly over to London in a day. This is manifestly impossible."

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