The more you know

Why do we say “the egg of Columbus”?

The term ‘Egg of Columbus’ is used when describing an incredibly banal way of solving a problem that seemed unsolved. In fact, it is said that Christopher Columbus was invited to a dinner on his return from America and that during this banquet some Spanish gentlemen tried to diminish his achievements, saying that anyone would succeed.

Well Columbus challenged them to put an egg straight on the table, without it falling. Failing that, the gentlemen challenged Colombo, asking him to do it too: the navigator lightly tapped the egg on the plane and left it there, straight and firm. The Spaniards complained that they too could do such a thing and Columbus replied that they could have done it, but he had done it.

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