Thomas Alva Edison: 20th Century Genius

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When thinking about a nominee for the 20th Century Genius Award, logic dictates a certain route to follow, for a person would only qualify by meeting certain qualifications. These qualifications are essentially threefold: 1) their ideas must be intelligent, 2) these ideas must be practical enough to have been applied, and 3) the results must benefit humanity enough that the basis of the idea continues to be used.


Through his multiplicity of ideas and fields of interest, Edison epitomizes the Age of Pluralism; the Modern Age can almost be defined through the turning point of his inventions, for Edison has ushered in a new world of possibilities in electronics, physics, chemistry and business. This paper shall focus on a small portion of Edison's works and their ramifications, with the intent of securing his nomination, and hopefully his chances of receiving, 20th Century Genius Award.
L. J. Davis (2003) noted that "The early Industrial Revolution was the last time when an ordinary citizen was thought capable of understanding the natural world." (p. 169) as a partial explanation as to how Edison, a common man in manner, came to be regarded as a genius, and because of this, acquired an origin story. These early stories circulated partly from fact, partly from popular imagination, and partly from Edison own predilection towards self-promotion (Davis, 2003). Edison was born February 11, 1847 in Milan, Ohio (Adair, 1996). ...
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