The class of noisy boys in a German primary school was being punished by their teacher.
They were assigned the problem of adding together all the numbers from 1 to 100.
The boys settled down, scribbling busily on their slates -- all but one. This boy
looked off into space for a few moments, then wrote something on his slate and turned it
in. His was the only right answer.
When the amazed teacher asked how he did it, the boy replied, "I thought there
might be some short cut, and I found one: 100 plus 1 is 101; 99 plus 2 is 101; 98 plus 3
is 101, and, if I continued the series all the way to 51 plus 50, I have 101 50 times,
which is 5,050."
After this episode, the young scholar received special tutoring from his teacher. The
boy was Karl Friedrich Gauss, the great mathematician of the 19th century.
Bits & Pieces, April 30, 1992.
A major problem in the development of the first sewing machine was the location of the
eye of the needle. Inventor Elias Howe was rapidly running out of money and ideas when one
night he had a peculiar dream. He was being led to his execution for failing to design a
sewing machine for the king of a strange country. He was surrounded by guards, all of whom
carried spears that were pierced near the head. Realizing instantly that this was the
solution to his problem, Howe woke up and rushed straight to his workshop. By nine o'clock
that morning the design of the first sewing machine was well on the way to completion.
Today in the Word, November 5, 1991.
Charles Steinmetz retired from General Electric after a lifelong career. Later, a
system breakdown had GE engineers stumped, so they called on Steinmetz as a consultant.
After inspecting the machinery at length, he marked an "X" on a defective part
and billed GE for $10,000. The company protested, asking for an itemization. Steinmetz's
reply read simply:
Making one chalk mark $1.00
Knowing where to place it $9,999.00
Discipleship Journal, Issue 48, p. 34.