AKRON, Ohio, Sept. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- This country is home to thousands
upon thousands of aspiring Thomas Edisons, Henry Fords and Steve Wozniaks,
judging from the results of a new national survey.
A significant percentage of Americans -- 33 percent -- have aspired to be
inventors or thought they had an idea that would make a good invention,
according to the poll, sponsored by the National Inventors Hall of Fame
(NIHF), based in Akron, Ohio.
"This remarkable number, one-third of the U.S. population, reveals there
definitely is a spirit of inventiveness in many of us," said David Fink, NIHF
president and chief executive. "It reflects the enterprising and industrious
attitude Americans are known for around the world."
Interestingly, men (44 percent) are twice as more likely to have
aspirations as inventors than women (22 percent).
Another intriguing finding: Creativity and determination, not necessarily
intelligence or education, are the most important qualities for an inventor,
according to Americans.
When asked to select the top three qualities most important to be a
successful inventor, the majority of respondents named creativity (cited by 59
percent) and determination (51 percent).
Cited by less than half of the respondents were common sense (45 percent),
intelligence (44 percent), education or training (39 percent), patience (35
percent) and luck (18 percent).
"These results reinforce our belief that people from all walks of life
possess the imagination and skills to create or discover the next scientific,
healthcare or lifestyle breakthrough," said Fink. "The 10 newest members of
the National Inventors Hall of Fame, to be inducted September 15, represent
such a cross-section, as do the other 158 Hall members."
Unlike these enshrined notables, what prevented inventor "wannabes" from
fulfilling their dream?
Some 21 percent stated lack of funding, 14 percent said they did not know
where to go or what to do next with their idea, 11 percent cited lack of time
and another 11 percent reported they lost interest. "For those that need
guidance, the U.S. Patent Office can assist them," Fink said.
The survey also asked Americans to select from a list the top three
professions that have the greatest positive impact on the quality of life in
the United States. Educators and teachers ranked first, cited by 73 percent.
Ranked second were scientists and inventors, named by 55 percent of those
surveyed. Next were doctors (46 percent), public safety leaders, such as
police and fire officials (36 percent) and government leaders (23 percent).
Ranked at 15 percent or below were journalists, entertainers, athletes and
The poll, timed to help kick off the NIHF 2001 induction ceremony, was
conducted by an independent research firm. It surveyed by telephone a
national probability sample of 1,028 adults living in private households in
the continental United States. Interviewing occurred August 24-27.
The NIHF was founded in 1973 by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and the
National Council of Intellectual Property Law Associations to recognize the
role of inventors and invention in our daily lives. The current museum
facility opened in 1995 and has hosted more than 700,000 visitors.
Inventors inducted into the Hall can be nominated by anyone. They must
hold a U.S. patent and their invention must have contributed to the welfare of
mankind and promoted the progress of science and the useful arts.
On September 15, the NIHF will induct its 29th class of inventors. They
include Robert L. Banks and John Paul Hogan (who invented crystalline
polypropylene and the first low-pressure process for high density
polyethylene-HDPE); Herbert Wayne Boyer and Stanley Norman Cohen (for genetic
engineering); Oliver Evans (high-pressure steam engine); Thomas J. Fogarty
(balloon embolectomy catheter); Elijah J. McCoy (automatic lubricator for
machinery); Christopher Latham Sholes (the typewriter and QWERTY keyboard);
and Patsy O'Connell Sherman and Samuel Smith (Scotchgard).
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SOURCE National Inventors Hall of Fame