It is evident that the greatest ideas usually come up when one takes keen look at the most common things. Some of the most recognizable and valuable discoveries that are in use today were as a result of an extra attention to a specific common phenomenon that could be used to produce something great.
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In most cases, those things that are considered commonplace occur at a daily basis but no one is keen enough to inquire about the phenomenon behind it. It only takes the passionate interest of an individual or group of individuals to make a discovery out of a commonplace thing.
These discoveries basically came about as a result of curiosity. They asked themselves questions and tried to find answers. Did they ask themselves questions such as ‘what if?’ or ‘I wonder why?’ and ‘how come?’ Some examples include the discovery of the concept of gravity by Newton and the invention of the aeroplane and telephone.
Big ideas that arose from commonplace ideas
One of the most commonly known stories behind great discoveries is the story of how Newton discovered the concept of gravity. It is said that Newton was sitting under an apple tree when an apple fell down. This was the beginning of the discovery of the concept behind gravitational pull.
The simple idea of a falling apple seems very commonplace and typical. Where else would things go if they were left hanging in the air? Where else would objects that are thrown up go to? The obvious answer is down. There is no debate about this because even the most stupid person is wired to understand that nothing that goes up remains in an upward motion.
However, the difference is, no one was curious and daring enough to wonder why things do not fall upwards instead. No one dares to explain the downward force that pulls one down as one tries to jump. Clearly, it just seems that everything wants to stay on the ground but I just do not know why.
This would have been a typical brain at work but not Newton’s. This is how Newton got the idea that there was something that makes things fall and this thing was a kind of pulling force that tended to pull things into the middle of the earth. This is how the theory of gravitation was born. Thanks to the courage of one gentleman who thought out of the box. Newton’s passionate interest in the commonplace thing led to the discovery of the theory of gravitation, which is universal.
The discovery of the theory of gravitation has had various applications such as its use in the theoretical and mathematical basis for Keplar’s observations of the movement of the planets. That simple idea made Newton to come up with the three laws of Newton, which are in use today. This idea also explained why there are low and high ocean tides (gravitational pull from the moon).
Another great discovery that was born out of a person’s interest in commonplace things is the invention of the first powered and controlled aeroplane. This invention was made by the Wright brothers. However, the idea behind the invention did not come from out-of-the-world things.
Actually, it came about after playing about with a kite. The kite was discovered in China after the Chinese got the idea that they could make an object fly in the air like a bird. This was a simple discovery by it paved the way for greater discoveries in the future that included the invention of the hot air balloons, gliders and the aeroplane. After that discovery, humans attempted to fly. They imitated the bird. This led people to experiment with built wings made out of wood or feathers.
They were attached carefully to their arms so that they could act like actual wings. However, the results were always disastrous. The men fell down with a thud since they could simply not keep up with the strenuous activity. Unfortunately, the human’s muscles are not designed for such an activity and the body weight would not allow for that. Therefore, the Wright brothers decided to employ the idea of the simple kite to build on the idea.
They used the kite to try to understand some important concepts of control. One of the most important concepts that came up was ‘wing-warping’. This concept would enable the airplane to make left or right turns. Finally, they came up with the first ‘flying machine’. This discovery was facilitated by ideas from a simple kite.
However, this discovery plays an important role in the current society. Air transport is the fastest mode of transportation and it is courtesy of the Wright brothers. This has enabled exports and imports of commodities to be done in the fastest way and the aeroplane has enabled man to explore areas of the earth that were previously inaccessible due to poor terrain or other constraints.
Another great discovery that was inspired by commonplace things was the discovery of the telephone by Graham Bell. It is believed that life’s lessons inspired Bell to make his discovery and this was mainly due to his mother’s hearing problem (deafness). When his mother started to lose her hearing ability, he became affected and he learned a manual finger language.
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This enabled him to translate the conversations into taps on the mother’s side. Later on, he developed a method of speaking clearly into the mother’s forehead and this facilitated communication. Graham was so preoccupied with his mother’s deafness that he decided to study acoustics. With these ideas in mind and with the expert knowledge he acquired in school, Bell discovered the telephone, which made communication easier. This discovery has helped shape today’s world.
It can be said with certainty that the best ideas are born from the extra attention given to the common things around us. Many of the world’s greatest discoveries were made by people who were passionate about the common things. These include the discovery of the theory of gravitation, the aeroplane and the telephone.