The misappropriation of laws is a well-known institution in science.
Avogadro had nothing to do with his constant. The French just didn’t want to name it after the Austrian Loschmidt who discovered it. Likewise the Bose-Einstein condensate had little to do with Einstein; Bose couldn’t get his paper published in an English-speaking journal, so he asked Einstein to send it into Zeitschrift fur Physik. Hannes Alfven had no knowledge of “Alfven layers” “Alfven boundaries” and so on. But he was the only plasma physicist to get a Nobel Prize, so he had name recognition. Kolmogorov didn’t invent his complexity. Poincare didn’t invent a disk model. Newton didn’t invent the Newtonian telescope. Bode’s law wasn’t Bode’s. Laffer didn’t invent his curve. It just goes on and on.
Stephen G Brush is a historian at the University of Maryland, and gave a talk on “The Matthew effect” named after Jesus’ quote “to those who have more will be given, but to those who have not, even what they have will be taken away.”
So there is nothing new about misappropriation, and if we start trying to right history, entire textbooks will have to be rewritten, and a whole cadre of scientists retrained. Plus, there will be the chaos of Russian scientists who claim to have published first, but in some obscure Soviet journal that never got translated into English. (If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears…) The process will turn out to be endless.
On the contrary, the assignment of names to laws is a political one, a credit to their standing. What did the Preacher say? The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all. If we reinterpret “time” to be the recognition of history, then we find perfect agreement with the naming of laws.
After all, the reason Hubble was assigned his Law was because he was an atheist, whereas the upstart Catholic monk Lemaitre thought it was proof of the validity of Genesis, undermining the whole purpose of cosmology. It was the same reason that atheist Darwin and not theist Wallace gets credit for evolution, or otherwise what would be the point?
So tell those astronomers that if they are willing to lose Hubble, then Darwin is next.
No, Rob. We mustn’t tell them. They would probably slit their throats. Consistent with our principles, we mustn’t encourage suicide. We will wait till something happens and then volunteer to help at the Crisis Hotline. 😉
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See also: Hubble’s Law name change urged, to recognize Big Bang pioneer Fr. Georges Lemaitre Belgian priest Lemaitre apparently got the idea, which “underpins modern cosmology,” two years before Edwin Hubble
Rob Sheldon on the “grave doubts” about the Nobel-winning gravity waves: I’ve been a skeptic of the gravity wave observations from the very beginning. The noise is ONE MILLION times stronger than the signal, which in every other field of science, pretty much excludes the opportunity of seeing the signal.