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Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs top young adult list of greatest innovators

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Alexander Graham Bell. Thomas Edison. Marie Curie. Steve Jobs. Which of these people would you consider the greatest innovator of all time?

A few weeks ago the Lemelson-MIT Program put a similar question to 1,000 young adults ages 16 to 25, and stodgy old purists can breathe a sigh of relief. Thomas Edison trumped everyone.

‘Though part of the ‘Apple Generation,’ many young Americans surprisingly chose Thomas Edison (52%), as the greatest innovator of all time, demonstrating that education around the history of invention exists in today’s curriculum,’ the organization wrote in a statement on its annual Lemelson-MIT Invention Index.

Still, nearly a quarter of respondents identified Steve Jobs as their first pick for greatest innovator, beating that old stalwart Alexander Graham Bell, who received just 10% of the votes.

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Mark Zuckerberg made the list, although only 3% of respondents identified the Facebook founder as the world’s greatest innovator. He tied with Amelia Earhart.

Bill Gates, however, was notably missing.

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-- Deborah Netburn

Image credit: From the Lemelson-MIT Program.


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