It has been pointed out by A. Toffler (148) that in the history of man there has usually been a long gap of time between the conception of an idea and its application to engineering or science generally. He gives the examples of Appollonius of Perga who discovered the principle of conic sections some 2,000 years before it was applied in a practical way to engineering problems; it was some 500 years before medicine imitated Paracelsus by systematically using ether for an anaesthetic. In Great Britain the first patent for a typewriter was taken out in 1714, at least 150 years before it became commercially available. Of course, some inventors still feel that society drags its heels when it comes to any practical application of their ideas, and it sometimes takes a major war before some inventions are implemented. Lynn (148, p. 28) made a study of twenty major innovations, which included such things as antibiotics, frozen foods, and integrated electrical circuits. This study revealed that the average time required for a major scientific discovery to be translated

into a usable or commercial form had been reduced by something like 60 per cent since the beginning of the twentieth century. The most dramatic, not to say cataclysmic, example of this was the explosion of the atomic bomb at Hiroshima six years after the very first experiments had been made with nuclear fission. It is interesting to note, however, what little progress has been made since in the conversion of nuclear energy for everyday, positive and practical use.