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When the obvious was not so obvious

Remember when there were no cell phones? In our highly connected smartphone way of life, the very idea seems like the stone age. And yet there was a time, not too long ago, when having a cell phone was big deal. Now imagine a time, when the wheel was not invented.

In an insightful article, Robert Krulwich explains why most inventions that we take for granted today were probably not a result of 'Eureka!' moments but step-wise progress towards a particular goal. He discusses Jonnie Hughes new book 'On the Origin of Teepees' and uses the wheel as an example of why this particular invention was not necessarily intuitive but a rather slow process.

Reading this article reminded me of the story behind recognizing the double helix structure of DNA. Today, every one knows that the DNA molecule has a double helix structure. But just less than 60 years ago, it was not so obvious and was the center of great debate.

Have you ever read a paper and wondered, 'That is so obvious, why didn't I think of that?' Maybe those results were a case of 'not-so-obvious-until-obvious' and may be they took the researchers many years to get that final piece of critical data. Each experiment, painstakingly designed and conducted using a carefully thought out protocol will contribute to a bigger discovery or a new invention. It is with this hope in our hearts that we enter the lab each morning, coffee cup in hand. Some day, what is not obvious now, will be obvious to us all.

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