Calculus in the community

This blog will contain random thoughts on things of a generally geeky nature – pseudo science, software development, technology, and maybe a few kittens.

This morning there was a discussion on the radio of the rivalry between Newton and Leibniz over calculus.  Newton discovered it first, but kept it to himself.  Leibniz discovered it later, and had a much more effective notation.  They warred against each other (through intemediaries), and eventually Newton’s notation dominated British science (and set it back 50 or so years).  It seemed that who was “first” seemed more important than who had the better solution.  

This contrasts with the situation of H.  She’s currently watching the progress of a paper shes trying to publish.  The sticking point is the fact that two different researchers made the same discovery – they agree on data, but not on conclusion.  Individually, each could publish, but it would be fairly unethical to do so.  Joint publication is the desired outcome, but because they have contradictory conclusions the publication process has ground to a halt.  Thus they work together to tone down these contradictions, rather than let the scientific community perform this process.


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