Discoveries and Invention: The Airplane and the Rocket Boys
(invited lecture for ALT and DS 2005)
Author: Gary L. Bradshaw
Department of Psychology,
Mississippi State University, Starkville, U.S.A.
Inventions like the airplane and model rockets were based on a heuristic
search process similar in kind to many scientific discoveries. Here we
will review two cases of invention: the invention of the airplane from
1799 to 1909 and the invention of a model rocket by a group of teenagers
in rural West Virginia in the 1950's. In each case the inventors
searched a space of possible artifacts to find effective solutions.
Likewise, search was avoided in both cases through the use of theory.
Significantly, during the invention of the airplane, the Wright brothers
made some fundamental aerodynamic discoveries. These cases reveal a deep
connection between discovery and invention, and suggest parallels with
AI and the invention of discovery systems.
©Copyright 2005 Author