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An Informal List of Jewish Inventions, Innovations and Radical Ideas

From Kathryn Bernheimer’s presentation on why Jews have been innovators in disproportionate numbers at “Smashing the Idols: A Teach-in and Launch of MoVeRs”:

REALLY  PRACTICAL INVENTIONS: Jeans, Lipstick, the Ballpoint Pen, Contraceptives, Instant Coffee, Television Remote Control, Traffic Lights, Scotchguard, the Flexistraw.

REALLY BIG INVENTIONS: The Atomic Bomb, the Thermonuclear Bomb, God, Genetic Engineering, the Nuclear Chain Reactor, Virtual Reality.

CULTURAL CONTRIBUTIONS: Hollywood, the Sit-Com, the Long Playing Record, Woodstock, Sound Movies, Videotape, Color Television, Instant Photography, Holography

GAME CHANGERS: Monotheism, Psychoanalysis, the Theory of Relativity, the Weekend (Shabbat)

INVENTIONS BEGINNING WITH THE LETTER “C’: Capitalism, Communism, Circumcision, Cheesecake, Cafeterias

NEVER BUY RETAIL: Discount Stores, Pawn Shops, the Shopping Cart and the Ready-to-Wear Clothing Industry

I FEEL BETTER ALREADY: Prozac, Valium, The Polio Vaccine, Radiation, Chemotherapy, the Artificial Kidney Dialysis machine, the Defibrillator, the Cardiac Pacemaker, Vaccination against the deadly “Hepatitis B” virus, the Vaccinating Needle, Laser Technology

CHAI TECH: Google, the Wire Transmission Facsimilie (FAX) , the Microphone, the Gramophone, the Microprocessing Chip, Optical Fiber Cable,  Laser, Cellular Technology, the Videotape Recorder

HOW DID WE LIVE WITHOUT THESE?: Drip Irrigation, Scale Model Electric Trains, the Pager,  the Walkie-talkie,  Refrigerated Railroad Car, High-vacuum Electron Tubes, the Incandescent Lamp, Kodachrome Film, the Blimp, the Adding Machine,  Stainless Steel, Tapered Roller Bearings.
 
A NOBLE PEOPLE: At least 178 Jews have been awarded the Nobel Prize, accounting for 23% of all individual recipients worldwide between 1901 and 2008, and constituting 37% of all US recipients during the same period.  In the scientific research fields of Chemistry, Economics, Medicine and Physics, the corresponding world and US percentages are 27% and 40%, respectively.  (Jews currently make up approximately 0.25% of the world’s population and 2% of the US population).

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Boulder JCC. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time." She was also Director of Menorah and ACE at the J from 2003 through August, 2019.

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One comment

  1. I think this is inexcusable as there are disproportionate numbers here that must show discrimination…..oh! they are diproportionate in the oppposite way…oy vey…I guess I will just be quiet and let it be…have a blessesd day….