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Solving the world's problems, one prize at a time

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Watch: The flight of the Albatross. (BBC Nationwide , 1979)
If you are searching for a solution do you ask the experts or the crowd
"Out in the middle of the Channel, there were times I was above the surface of the water only by three inches or so," Allen recalls.
Despite pedalling into a headwind, running out of water and suffering leg cramps, he managed to complete the 22-mile crossing from Folkestone to Cap Gris-Nez, winning a prize of ?100,000 for his team of collaborators, led by engineer Paul MacCready.The money had been put up by the businessman Henry Kremer, who was - I think - my grandfather's first cousin. click here for transmission times or to listen online
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Very often, he has no idea who has set the challenge - the so-called "seeker". And he says he has no qualms about signing over the rights to use ideas that could potentially make him a lot of money. He's satisfied with the prize."I do have experience with the patent process and there are significant barriers - mainly cost," he says. "It's just so onerous. It's not just the submission process itself, it's the potential challenges to the patent. Patents require maintenance fees on an ongoing basis to keep them alive."@williamkremer
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