Slide Rule Quotes (2 quotes)
Air Chief Marshal Harris [objecting to a change in strategy recommended by statisticians]: Are we fighting this war with weapons or the slide rule?
Churchill [after puffing on his cigar]: That's a good idea. Let's try the slide rule.
During World War II, Britain lost the advantage when enemy U-boats began listening in to the aircraft radar, were forewarned, and would dive. U-boat sinkings fell to zero. Physicist Patrick S. Blackett with his Operational Research colleagues came up with a solution. Concentrate sufficient aircraft in certain areas, causing the subs to dive so frequently their air supply and batteries were exhausted, forcing them to remain on the surface and be vulnerable to attack. The strategy required diverting several squadrons from Bomber Command to Coastal Command. Bomber Harris voiced his objection to Churchill, who made the right choice, proved by successful results. As described by R.V. Jones, 'Churchill and Science', in Robert Blake and Wm. Roger Louis (eds.), Churchill (1996), 437.
When I was research head of General Motors and wanted a problem solved, Id place a table outside the meeting room with a sign: Leave slide rules here. If I didnt do that, I'd find someone reaching for his slide rule. Then hed be on his feet saying, Boss, you cant do it.
In Jacob Morton Braude, Speaker's Desk Book of Quips, Quotes, & Anecdotes (1966), 323.