While at Iowa State University, it was common for me to doz off when studying often with my head on notes or open books and notes on my chest. It seemed like it would sink in during the nap. Maybe it just helps the brain tuck it back in recoverable memory or facilitates some form of knowledge osmosis. Something had to work to generate five 4.0 quarters of the twelve I spent there as an undergrad.
Interesting story, Chuck! I doubt any true slacker ever came up with a great invention! And even great inventors need to sleep...he probably took cat naps in between great bouts of pondering and experimenting. :) Actually, when I shared an office in NYC I had a writer friend who used to have a pillow under her desk so she could take short naps between bursts of writing. It definitely gets the creative juices flowing to reset in between bursts of work, I think.
Yes, Liz, there's a lot more to Edison's succss than collaboration. One of the aspects not mentioned here is the work hours. Edison was notorious for working long hours, and even sleeping on his desk in the lab, using Watts' Dictionary of Chemistry as his pillow. When I visited Edison's lab in Fort Myers, FL, a couple of years ago, I saw that that lab had a cot. So, apparently, Edison slept in the lab at his vacation home, too. My guess is that it's a lot easier to collaborate with your workers when you're in the lab 20 hours a day.
Rob, I don't think Boeing is a poster-child for collaborative design. The 787 was 2 years behind schedule because their suppliers could not execute, from fastener shortages, to build problems (in Italy), to steep learning curves in Japan.
The battery design that grounded the fleet would also not be a good example of supplier collaboration.
One of the interesting things Edison did to further collaboration was to choose each year a student or young engineer to come and work with him. In evaluating the potential, lucky student, Edison sought personality qualities over knowledge.
I missed that article, but that ;position -- that collaboration isn't so wonderful -- is a contrarian point of view at this point. Boeing led the collaborative design movement in the late 199s by bringing suppliers into the design process. Now the automotive industry is hip deep in the water, sending tons of design to suppliers in collaborative joint efforts.
The question of whether engineers could have foreseen the shortcut maintenance procedures that led to the crash of American Airlines Flight 191 in 1979 will probably linger for as long as there is an engineering profession.
More than 35 years later, the post-mortem on one of the countryís worst engineering disasters appears to be simple. A contractor asked for a change in an original design. The change was approved by engineers, later resulting in a mammoth structural collapse that killed 114 people and injured 216 more.
If youíre an embedded systems engineer whose analog capabilities are getting a little bit rusty, then youíll want to take note of an upcoming Design News Continuing Education Center class, ďAnalog Design for the Digital World,Ē running Monday, Nov. 17 through Friday, Nov. 21.
Focus on Fundamentals consists of 45-minute on-line classes that cover a host of technologies. You learn without leaving the comfort of your desk. All classes are taught by subject-matter experts and all are archived. So if you can't attend live, attend at your convenience.