Results of the Big Contest for the Best Invention: The Light Bulb, the Airplane or the Theory of Relativity?

We were pleased with the over 150 national entries we received; and the variety of thoughts on the question. The great bulk of the submissions favored the light bulb; with about 5-10% for the airplane and but a few for the theory of relativity. It is after all what our readers thought.

The winners and prizes awarded are:

  • First Place $100 Noah Kurzenhauser

  • Second Place $50 Jonathan Leach

  • Third Place $25 Randy Ohman

In addition, we decided to award two honorable mention prizes as well:

  • Honorable Mention $15 Valeria Pasuizacca

  • Honorable Mention $15 Brandon Nguyen

One particular entry prompted our judges to issue a special award for creativity:

  • Special Award $75 David Nassar

David’s entry was an ingenious poem which we have reproduced below-

The airplane, the light bulb or relativity
Which is the greatest mark of ingenuity?
First consider the airplane- two brothers so Wright
They invented a vehicle capable of flight
People called them dreamers, and dreamers they were
In Kitty Hawk, they flew in the air like the birds
Next consider relativity- an Einstein to find
That distance and space is related to time
Twin paradoxes, bending space, and even GPS
Relativity explained; mysteries put to rest
Finally, the lightbulb, a bright idea clearly!
I contest it is greater than planes or relativity theory
Relativity claims nothing is faster than light
And without the lightbulb, there’d be no such insight
Einstein’s theory relied on an experiment of his mind
“What if two lights were turned on, what’s the answer he’d find?”
Now when considering the classic question, ” ‘light’ or flight?”
Consider where the airplane would be in the night
Airport runways and red-eyes could never be handled
By rows upon rows of wax-based candles
So of the three inventions one is greater than two
And for this Thomas Edison, we are grateful to you.

Thanks to all who participated! Be on the look-out for upcoming contests.

Thomas Edison on Time MagazineThomas Edison said, “I find out what the world needs. Then I go ahead and try to invent it.”

Time® is a registered trademark of Time Inc.

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