Works in the field, not in the lab

I read recently that the first military radar systems worked better in the field than in the lab. Apparently the electronics needed jiggling now and then and so did better in actual use than in the protected environment of the lab.

What are some other systems that work better in the field than in the lab or systems that work better in practice than in theory?

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4 comments on “Works in the field, not in the lab
  1. Greg Wilson says:

    I think you mean “jiggling”, not “giggling” :-)

  2. John says:

    Thanks for spotting the typo. I’m trying to imagine giggling electronics …

  3. Gene Harris says:

    Stable nuclear fusion works in the field (the sun and other stars). As far as I know, we haven’t made it work very well in the lab.

  4. Alex says:

    Cross-validation. The theoretical basis for it is thin, but it performs very well in practice.

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