
Re: most famous codiscoverer gets credit (Matthew Effect) [was: This Week's Finds in Mathematical Physics (Week 112)]
Posted:
Nov 27, 1997 2:41 PM


In article <y8zoh36n2z1.fsf__@berne.ai.mit.edu>, Bill Dubuque <wgd@berne.ai.mit.edu> writes: > >Speaking of simultaneous discoveries in math, does anyone know >any historical works that explicitly study the reasons for such >remarkable confluences? E.g. > > o calculus (Newton and Leibnitz) > o geometric representation of complex numbers > (Argand, Buee, Gauss, Mourey, Warren, Wessel) > o nonEuclidean geometry (Bolyai, Gauss, Lobatchevsky) > o Hilbert's 10th problem (Chudnovsky, Matiyasevich) > o Kolmogorov complexity (Solomonoff, Kolmogorov, Chaitin) > I would say that major advances of this sort don't come out of the blue, they only happen when a sufficient "critical mass" of background material has been generated. Of course it still takes then a gifted individual to see the connections in what's already known and recognize where they lead, but there is certainly a significant probability that more than one such individual will be available.
So the confluence is there because all of them drink from the same river.
>I was going to close by quoting W. Bolyai's remark such that when the >time is ripe for certain ideas they blossom like violets in spring,
Yep, exactly.
Mati Meron  "When you argue with a fool, meron@cars.uchicago.edu  chances are he is doing just the same"

