Signs of Preemption

A similar invention was presented by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in his work presented to the French Academy of Sciences in 1742. Due to its straightforward correspondence to the standard notation, it is possible that many other claims of independent invention are also true. Grove’s credits Emile J.M. Chevé. (Source)

“In science, it is common practice for a result to be named after the person who discovered it last.” — Karl Sigmund

Just because you have a better system does not mean it will be adopted. Like a chemical reaction to a lower energy state, often a catalyst is needed to spur the systemic shift. Without that, old and cumbersome systems can persist for surprisingly long. “Legacy tech,” they say.

In any case, do not be disheartened by civilization’s slow and laborious gait. They will find their way, eventually, in time. Besides, regardless of the effort given, there is no such thing as independent invention. We are all carried by the same currents, and those currents do not ebb or flow for the sake of our vanity.

And yet, jostling for credit ensues… typical humans.

From Exact Thinking In Demented Times, by Karl Sigmund:

Robert Brown (1773–1858) was a Scottish botanist who had noticed, back in 1827, while peering through a microscope, that minute particles suspended in liquids were constantly jiggling back and forth in a random fashion, almost as if they were tiny animate creatures. But this they were not. Brown published his observations but could offer no explanation for this puzzling behavior. (As is often the case, Brown’s discovery was made independently by another person—in this case, the Dutch biologist Jan Ingenhousz, who had written about it over forty years earlier—but it nonetheless became known as Brownian motion.)

From Exact Thinking In Demented Times, by Karl Sigmund:

Without any guidance, [Carl Menger] wrote his book Principles of National Economics. When it appeared in 1871, the self-taught economist became one of the leaders in his field, almost overnight.

The ideas he came up with must have been in the air, for at nearly the same time, Léon Walras in France and William Jevons in Great Britain also hit on the same approach.

From Exact Thinking In Demented Times, by Karl Sigmund:

Zermelo, who once had caused endless headaches for Boltzmann with his troublesome “paradox of recurrence,” had also managed to discover Russell’s set-theory paradox, quite independently of Russell, and even slightly before Russell found it. (In science, it is common practice for a result to be named after the person who discovered it last.)

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