Monday, November 12, 2012
Simple Minds Or Untapped Genius?
The world waits on our best scientific minds and deep corporate financial pockets to provide us with solutions to our global energy crisis. We know that it is only a matter of time and money before they develop cost-effective solar solutions, and eliminate our dependence upon fossil fuels. But the promised alternative energy Nirvana has been long in the development, with little sign of imminent solution. So why are we waiting on our self-proclaimed and acknowledged academic and financial geniuses? Stan Ovshinsky already has proven that these great inventions do not have to originate from huge monetary investments or conventional intellectuals.
Mr. “Call me Stan” Ovshinsky is the guy who invented the battery that powers most laptop computers, and was the force behind the invention of hydrogen fuel cells, LCD TV screen technology and electric car systems, along with being the holder of nearly 1,000 patents. Yet, he never graduated high school.
With this apparent lack of genius, he was able to show that the conventional theories about semi-conductors were wrong, much to the chagrin of scientists who scoffed at this nearly uneducated man. Undeterred, Stan and his wife used their meagre savings to start Energy Conversion Devices, and began developing and marketing his inventions. His everyday genius has provided us with incredible breakthroughs in the understanding of alternative energy concepts. At the age of 85, he started two new companies, focused upon making solar cell energy less costly than coal. Unfortunately, he died, just shy of his 90th birthday, with his latest dreams unfulfilled.
It is not the intuitive brilliance of his creations that is Mr. Ovshinsky’s legacy. Rather, it is the lesson that each of us could learn from his example: every one of us is capable of contributing to the solutions needed in today’s world, from social to economic to concrete creations. The myth that only big money and educated academics are able to solve the complex issues confronting us has been completely disintegrated because of the practical example set by Stan Ovchensky.
While money may be needed to bring ideas to commercial fruition, those essential, initial steps – the dreams, ideas and concepts – require only the application of our own unique perspectives and experiences. It is the combination of these two elements that germinate the genius within each of us. Rather than regarding our own meagre contributions as the uniformed inspirations of a simple mind, we should act upon those insights as if they were -- all of them – the seeds of the next most marvellous event to change the world.