glyph 443: conjectures & refutations . Karl Popper . example from industry ... engineers as explorers, not simply calculators ... aerodynamics, streamlining ... automobile industry, car manufacturing ... the use of failure in engineering ... delight in discovering a bad guess, error as a way forward ... the importance of listening for the word "NO" as spoken by the real world . and in this case heard by Carl Breer and Bill Earnshaw at Chrysler in 1927 ... astounding enlightenment as a motivating force


 

Chrysler Engineers Get it Backwards

then reverse themselves and their designs, 1927

In late 1927 Chrysler engineers Carl Breer and Bill Earnshaw, with the help of Wilbur Wright, built a wind tunnel to test their ideas on streamlining.

From Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius, by Vincent Curcio:

After testing two regular models, Breer got the idea of testing the cars running backward: to his astonishment, the air drag was 30 percent less. "Our laboratory was on the fourth floor of the engineering building," he said, "and as I looked out of the window at all of the cars outdoors, I called the boys over and remarked, 'Just think how dumb we have been, when you look at these cars and realize that they are all running in the wrong direction!' This impression would not leave us. It just seemed that suddenly we discovered that we were thrillingly living in another world, and that in our everyday life the automobiles around us as designed were telling us that the basis of design was all wrong! This discovery touched off more enthusiasm and the more we thought of it the more we thought something should be done about it! This astounding enlightenment was the motivating force that started the all-important design of the Airflow series."

Table of Contents:
http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0195147057

Chrysler: The Life and Times of an Automotive Genius. Oxford University Press, USA (2001), Paperback, 720 pages. ISBN 0195147057 / 9780195147056

http://explorersfoundation.org/glyphery/443.html
October 10, 2008

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