REVIEW OF THE NOVEMBER 2002 ISSUE OF THE TRIZ-JOURNAL.

The current issue of the TRIZ-journal starts with such an empty paper that I was staggered by the fact that it belongs to the pen of a college professor. Its topic was supposed to be "Integrating TRIZ into the Curriculum". However, more than half of the paper was devoted to the distorted history of TRIZ and to retelling of its basic concepts.

The question arises: who was the intended audience of the paper ? If TRIZ community (as was likely the author's intent), then none of its members needs second-hand poor retellings. But if the intended audience was Prof. Schweizer's collegues, not familiar with TRIZ, then why did it appear in the proceedings of the TRIZ conference ? To preach to his collegues, Prof. Schweizer should go to his professional community.

What is more disturbing in his article, though, is a false description of Altshuller's life. Firstly, Altshuller never worked "in the patent department of the Soviet Navy". I even doubt that the Soviet Navy ever had such a department. Altshuller served at the headquarters of Caspian Sea Flotilla of the Soviet Navy in Baku, in the department which purpose was helping sailors to properly document their ideas of improvements to the Flotilla's procedures, equipment, technology, etc.

Secondly, it is a myth that in the letter to Stalin, Altshuller and Shapiro allegedly wrote about TRIZ and were arrested for this. The myth was invented for the American audience by some immigrants to the US to better sell TRIZ on the American soil. According to Altshuller himself, the letter was not about TRIZ (which did not exist in 1948) but about some steps of the Soviet government in the area of technology, which Altshuller and Shapiro believed were wrong. For example, Soviet Union traded the German patent archive, which it captured at the end of WWII, for some Western technology. They wrote that this was a mistake. However, not this criticism was the cause of their arrest. The cause was that the letter did not pay the due respect to Stalin. He was not referred to as "comrade", etc.

Thirdly, their sentencing to 25 years in labor camps was not "a sort of blessing in disguise, as the camp contained professors, scientists, etc." Such a fairy tale invented by some immigrants from Russia is all but a mockery at Altshuller's and Shapiro's suffering. Altshuller used to tell that initially he lived with common criminals and to survive amongst them he tried to please them by retelling the science fiction by Jules Verne at nights. There often were inter-barracks fights. And once somebody wanted to kill Altshuller but intervention of the gang leader saved him. The gang leader allegedly told:"Do not touch him. He tells interesting stories." I also do not remember Altshuller ever telling that he learned anything from the imprisoned professors or engineers. Conversely, he used to tell that these people laughed at him when he decided to study in the camp and wrote to relatives to send him books on physics, etc.

Fourthly, Altshuller never went underground. I do not know what the authors of the myth meant by "underground" but Altshuller was never hiding from the authorities. He lived openly and all his activity was open, legal, and verifiable. He simply did not work anywhere. It was unusual for the Soviet Union but absolutely legal (if somebody had money to live without working somewhere). He lived on his and his wife's honorariums and on his wife parents' pension.

There are too many other factual inaccuracies in Prof. Schweizer's paper, that it would take me too long to elaborate on all of them. I better repeat the words of my friend Pentti Soderlin: I do not recommend to read this paper to anyone. Actually, the same is applicable to the entire TRIZ-journal.