Jim - I did research which earned me a Doctorate (PhD).
It didn't get me a career because
* the project organisation collapsed and mine turned into a solo
effort with no-one there for the outcome
my scientific endeavours have been "pilot studies" making a lot of
pragmatic progress in the first early stages of the subject timeline,
lacking the highfallutin' theory squeezing the n-th nuance out far
towards to the highly-developed near-horizontal "right-hand-side" of
the subject's progress vs. timeline graph
So some similarities - apart from you had career success in an
entrepreneurial culture :-)
The only Space project I was privileged to work on shut down after the lead
scientist/promoter found a better opportunity elsewhere. It was one of many
that was born in a home workshop. They brought me in as electronic tech and
I had to prove I could handle optics and machining as well. The Ph.Ds
designed with what they could buy off the shelf while I made or
custom-ordered whatever I wanted, including a connector for 25um x 125um
gold IC bonding ribbon.
Many of the Ph.D theses I've read tend to demonstrate that the author has
the potential to do serious research, but they and their advisors lack
I think I was most useful when I brought my wide but not that deep
multi-disciplinary knowledge to a researcher whose education had
concentrated in one field.
A good example, though not a thesis, is Rossi's E-Cat. It was made from
brazed copper pipe fittings and he either didn't know or hoped others
wouldn't that hot hydrogen reduces copper oxide to copper atoms and carries
them downstream. The copper found in the nickel wasn't proof of nuclear
"Given numerous other scientific inconsistencies ? such as the ratio of
isotopes in the supposed copper "fusion product" being identical to that in
Iron, nickel and copper are in the region of greatest nuclear stability.
Lighter elements can release energy by fusion and heavier ones by fission.
They are the end products, the burnt-out ashes of stellar fusion. Imagine
what wondrous civilizations might have lived in the light released from what
ended as a chunk of iron.
Invert the graph to show energy that fusion or fission can release.
The Cruise Missile/Drone/UAV began as a private project that eventually
The story shows how small details like who happens to be involved can make
or break a project.
If it worked they could get funding, and if they had funding they could make
The effort wasn't wasted, Sperry and Doolittle gave us IFR flight.
Hap Arnold wrote that by the time it was ready the exhausted Germans had no
worthwhile targets left within its range.
Re the parachute, they had existed since 1797 but wouldn't (yet) reliably
open in free fall. Their container was attached to the fuselage or
observation balloon basket and the falling pilot's weight pulled them out
evenly. That was no good if the plane was burning or tumbling, and if it
wasn't they might glide down.