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Rocket Scientists Stymied by Hearst Elevators

Hearst Building

The Hearst Tower stymies even the greatest minds. Photo: Getty Images

The elevators in Hearst Tower are, like the rest of the building, designed to look cool and be efficient. They're so cool and efficient, in fact, that they don't even have buttons on the inside. Instead, Hearsties punch in the floor number on a panel outside, which then tells them which car to hop into. Though the system is simple enough if you go there every day, it's confusing for visitors. Especially, you know, models. But you wouldn't think that they'd stymie some of the country's most brilliant engineers. But last night at Popular Mechanics' Breakthrough Awards, which honored the top innovators and inventors of the year, the tower's lobby was a scrum of confusion. Honorees stood gazing at the elevator doors, stumped. "Excuse me, but how do you get this to go down?" one, the inventor of a nonturbine wind alternative, was heard asking. Meanwhile, the maker of a nerve-powered robo-arm trotted off to ask for help from a security guard. Eventually, Hearst dispatched staffers to the lobby to escort honorees upstairs. Hm. Guess there's something to that "selective intelligence" thing.

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