Fastest in the world. BESK (not the drink, Bäsk, but Binär Elektronisk SekvensKalkulator) the "Binary Electronic Sequence Calculator" was Sweden's first electronic computer, using vacuum tubes instead of relays. It was developed by Matematikmaskinnämnden (Swedish Board for Computing Machinery) and for a short time it was the fastest computer in the world. The computer was completed in 1953 and in use until 1966. BESK was a 40-bit machine; its electrostatic memory could store 512 words. The hardware was developed by Erik Stemme. Gösta Neovius and Olle Karlqvist were responsible for architecture and instruction set. It was closely modeled on the IAS machine for which the design team had retrieved drawings during a scholarship to Institute for Advanced Study (IAS) and Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S. During the development of the BESK magnetic drum memory, Olle Karlqvist discovered a magnetic phenomenon, which has been called the Karlqvist gap.

Genius Company. Who doesn’t want a new car every four months? These days many car manufacturers have developed similar programs but Volvo was recognized for its innovation already in 2018 as one of Time Magazine’s Genius Companies. The reason was the Care by Volvo program, which replaces traditional ownership of a car with a subscription-based ownership that includes insurance, maintenance, etc., making the system more like your typical plan for cell phone service than car ownership. The Swedish automaker in October announced that subscribers can swap out of their current car after just four months.


The ant that carries the elephant. Sven Wingquist (1876-1953) is regarded by many as the father of the modern ball bearing—an invention of revolutionary importance to mechanical design. In 1907 he invented the spherical ball bearing. He also founded AB Svenska Kullagerfabriken (SKF), which remains the world's leading producer of industrial bearings. In the micro-world of bearings and seals, the protection is an oily film some 50 atoms thick, or about one-fifth of the thickness of a hair. A fully grown African elephant weighs about six tons. Imagine that it would concentrate its total weight on a single tiny ant. The pressure acting on the ant would be equivalent to the pressure between the ball and its raceway in the ring when the bearing is in operation. Yet the ball never touches the ring. The micron thick film of oil keeps them apart. In SKF's world, the ant carries the elephant on its back.
At a bore diameter of 45 millimeters, a bearing is under the same constant pressure as if you should park 12,000 mid-size cars on this page. Yet the bearing will rotate hundreds of millions of times during its life, enduring unimaginable forces. Including contact pressures which transform ordinary lubricant from a liquid to a soft solid with the consistency of pure silver, and then back again. A bearing's simple appearance hides a micro-world teeming with forces that can make or break a product: friction, energy, power.