“If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advance.” – Orville Wright
Think science and innovation are closed to people without engineering degrees? The Wright brothers challenge that notion.
- Neither brother graduated from high school.
- Both were self-taught and well-read.
- The brothers started several businesses together prior to their first manned flight.
Wilbur was something of a genius who was set to attend Yale until a bad hockey accident changed his plans. Biographer David McCullogh states, “It was then that he really began reading intensely and succeeded in getting himself what amounted to a superb liberal arts education right at home.”
What might have become of the brothers’ famed flight had Wilbur attended Yale instead of launching a newspaper, starting a bike shop, and tinkering with aircraft? It’s not far-fetched to imagine them abandoning the pursuit, given the fact that the dominant opinion among highly educated scientists of the day (including head of the Royal Society in England, Lord Kelvin) was that heavier than air flight was “impossible.” Sometimes the most respected knowledge is also wrong.