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Charles F. Kettering: Science of Automotive Engineering, 1936

Radio Talk

Transcribed from a series of radio talks Charles Kettering gave between September, 1942 and July, 1945.

"Research isn't a physical thing at all but just a state of mind. It is a simple organized way of trying to accomplish something you wish to do—so simple that anyone can do Research anywhere at any time.

First, you select the problem you would like to solve, then you list at least ten reasons why this has not been solved. But in picking that problem be sure to analyze it carefully to see that it is worth the effort. It takes just as much effort to solve a useless problem as a useful one. Make sure the game is worth the candle.

After carefully—and I want to emphasize that word "carefully" selecting the problem and the ten things between you and the solution, you then use the same procedure as in solving a crossword puzzle. You take the easy obstacles first and by a process of elimination you arrive at last at the one or two major ones. In the solution of the remaining obstacles you may need some simple apparatus, but the things you will probably need most are infinite patience and persistence."

"In my opinion, an ounce of experimentation is worth a pound of untried theory."