Monday, October 20, 2008

Can a good question change the world?

It's hard to know what really changes the world for the better. Is it good people, or good acts, or good ideas, or, perhaps, good questions?

Why do I ask? Well, in my idle moments I'm reading, scanning and learning the history of the Wireless World Quality Amplifier, the valve amplifier, that gave the British hi-fi in the 1930s and 40s. See here for what I have so far. (I shall be attempting to build a copy this winter).

Anyway it's now well known that in 1945 Wireless World also published a paper by the young Arthur C Clarke of the British Interplanetary Society (oh, and Royal Air Force). Less well known is the question that led to that paper. Here it is -
Is it theoretically possible to hold wireless communication with other planets? And is there anything in the nature of inexplicable radiations (i.e., apart from cosmic rays) reaching us from outer space?

(Wireless World, October 1942)

I'll post the published answer soon.

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