Gail Collins, columnist, The New York Times
As America marched into the 20th century, an essay in The Atlantic predicted that by the year 2000 we’d have abolished war, and the poor would be living in high-rise “abodes of happiness and health.” On a less utopian note, aLadies’ Home Journal essayist said around the same time that by now, all mice and rats would have been eliminated. So would the letters C, X, and Q.
Eric Topol, director, Scripps Translational Science Institute
In 2006, David Pogue wrote in The New York Times, “Everyone’s always asking me when Apple will come out with a cell phone. My answer is, ‘Probably never.’ ” Not long thereafter, Apple introduced the iPhone. Smartphones are set to become the fastest-adopted technology in history—by 2020, 80 percent of the world’s adults are projected to have one in their pocket.
Angela Creager, history-of-science professor, Princeton University
Lewis L. Strauss, as the chairman of the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission, told the National Association of Science Writers in September 1954 that nuclear power would produce energy “too cheap to meter,” and that related advances in science and technology would make famines a matter of history, lengthen human life spans, and bring peace.