Attempts to fly had, of course, been made since Grecian times and there had been many fantasies how man could take to the air. Leornardo De Vinci, in the 15th Century, made some remarkably creative designs of aircraft, but only on paper.
When we came to the 19th Century, there was much talk of flying and there were plenty of balloon flights with hot air balloons and finally beginning about 1890, the German experiments with H2 gas-filled "air ships".
All along it was said that heavier than air machines were absurd, - impossible, - and absolutely would never be.
The Wright Brothers were clever enough, very American for their time, pioneers, erudite, mathematical, excellent engineers.
They faced the problem with all their mathematical knowledge and wisdom and succeeded.
Curiously enough, this was only the beginning. Of course, their first thought was to invite some people along to see and say: "Look, we've done it, we can fly. It's a heavier than air machine."
They tried and tried but people would come and sneer and say they didn't believe it. There must be some trick, - and go away again.
Finally, the Wright brothers thought they knew what they should do. They should come to a very public place and show people, hundreds of thousands of people, flying, heavier than air, machines.
So, they went from Dayton, OH to New Jersey and in fields which may well have been near where New Jersey turnpike now runs, they kept on taking off, landing and flying around. There was substantial traffic on the roadways, some cars, some horses and buggies, and they must have been seen by very many people. The general reaction was, "We know that is not possible to have heavier than air machines, and therefore, these people are not flying. Perhaps they are pretending to, making hops, maybe they have a balloon inside there, holding it up but they cannot be flying because we know heavier than air machines cannot fly."
So, finally the Wright brothers went on a ship and took the whole thing to Paris, France, and there for the first time they got believers. Being not so squinty and skeptic as the Americans, the French took to them and began to build machines. Blierot flew across the Channel in 1911, only three years after the Dayton, OH, flight. Of course, directly this was done, everything changed and in no time people were building aircraft and airlines were formed, etc.
So, it is with inventions which overgo the time, which are far out enough to be ahead of themselves and do things which have been regarded as totally impossible in the past.
It is important to remember this when one talks about chemically stimulated nuclear change and maybe demonstrations are necessary and will be much more convincing than anything else. But, it may be necessary to demonstrate again and again until so many people have seen it that the whispers begin to spread. There will come a time in which it will take off, and then all in flash, in a single year, there will be a revolution in thinking.
Until that time one has to just keep on trying, showing, demonstrating, letting people do it themselves, to find out and be convinced.
To add a point to this tale, I tell another one from a person who had been the energy czar in the Rockfeller administration and who got hold of Youll Brown. Youll had for some time been putting deuterium in the water when he electrolyzed and finding that when he took the deuterium and hydrogen together, he got 6,000?and not 2,000? a very peculiar thing which cannot be explained chemically at all.
So, my friend the energy czar heard of the process of "quenching radioactivity" which Youll Brown claims he could do. Because of his former connections with Governor Rockfeller, he was able to get down from Washington two DOE engineers to act as witnesses.
The experiments were set up and carried out. There was no doubt that when the flame was played on the radioactive material, for more than 2 minutes, the radioactive decreased about 80 90%.
After the experiment had been done, my friend, who had taken quite a lot of trouble to set it up and obtain "reliable witnesses" triumphantly asked the engineers if they would write a report describing what they had seen.
"Seen?", said one. "We haven't seen anything."
There was much discussion of radioactivity escaping around the room. Searched for, there was none. Then, there was the question perhaps it had hidden inside the small grains. They were chopped up. There was no radioactivity inside the grains.
Finally, the two engineers sheepishly explained that, if they went back and told what they had seen, they would lose their jobs, as being gullible fools and that because everybody knows that it is not possible to quench radioactivity by heating it.