In article <email@example.com>, Bill Dubuque <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>Also keep in mind the Matthew Effect, which says that attribution >tends towards the most famous of codiscoverers
Sometimes attribution goes to the more effective exploiter of the result, irrespective of fame. The classic example is Stokes's Theorem, discovered by Kelvin: K was probably more famous than S. K told S about the theorem but seems to have thought of it purely as an exercise in calculus. Four years later, when K had still not published it (!), S needed a question for an exam he was about to set (I think M axwell was one of the students: he would presumably have been up to proving the theorem having never seen it before), and it was S who realised that curl v was a useful vector function of position if v was. When I teach vector analysis I tell this story: it must be non-obvious if K and S failed to see the use of "Stokes's" theorem for four years.
John Harper School of Math+Comp Sci Victoria Univ Wellington New Zealand email@example.com phone (+64)(4)471 5341 fax (+64)(4)495 5045