“When I am told ‘It’s Impossible,’ I Immediately Get to Work” - business breakfast with Lubomyr Romankiw

An inspiring business breakfast with Lubomyr Romankiw, IBM Fellow and inventor, who belongs to the National Inventors Hall of Fame, took place at LvBS on October 8. Ukrainian by birth and Canadian by passport, the IBM Fellow in Electrochmical Technology, Micromagnetics, and Microfabrication is one of the people without whom we would not have today personal computers and the Internet.

At the business breakfast, Lubomyr Romankiw spoke about his major inventions and explained how each of them influenced the technological progress and the existence of PCs in the world today. In particular, he was the inventor of the process of building magnetic microheads for recording media, allowing for the appearance of hard drives and PCs.

“If you want to identify my invention on your PC, think what happens inside your computer when you click each ‘button’ (key),” said the scientist.

During the meeting, the audience was encouraged to ask the inventors the questions that interested them the most.

When asked how he sees the future of humanity, Lubomyr Romankiw said: “Once it was easy to talk about the future in a hundred years. Now the world is difficult to predict even in five. I can definitely say that now we have a computer that is not equal a mouse’s brain; in 2015 there will already be a computer that is equal to a mouse’s brain; by 2035 the human brain; by 2045 the intellect of humankind. This computer can learns and even reproduce itself. But it will never be able to feel emotion, love, and cry.”

The researcher asked the audience to think about that fact that every time we invent something and improve life, we reduce the number of people needed for carrying out certain work: “It really is a problem, which is still not being talked about.”

Lubomyr Romankiw also talked about the secret of his own success: “I have a little angel sitting on my shoulder and she tells me if I’m moving in the right direction (laughs). In fact, many of my inventions were accidental. Suppose you have an idea and set a goal to implement it. In the process of research, you do not achieve this goal. What do you do – give up the plan? I look at this another way: yes, maybe, I did not reach the goal, but something was achieved in the research process, so I think how that can be used. And this is how the greatest discoveries occur. Also, I am very ‘affected’ when people say “it's impossible.” If they say so, then you have to get to work.”

Some interesting facts/thoughts from the business lunch with Lubomyr Romankiw:
- 20% of inventions are accidental. We must always have an open mind and look where one wouldn’t expect to find a solution;
- Think small and one day it may be worth a billion – this is what happened with the inventor;
- As soon as someone tells me “it's impossible,” I immediately want to get to work.