A Scientist's Work: Who Gets the Credit?

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Avalbane
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A Scientist's Work: Who Gets the Credit?

Post by Avalbane » Tue Dec 13, 2005 1:02 am

Why does a scientist who did the research first get their work accredited to a different scientist?

In the case of Aristotle and Linnaeus: Was it because, even though Aristotle founded the basics for the classification of organisms, Linnaeus established the system (binomial nomenclature) we use today? Even though Aristotle reasearched it first, Linnaeus is still considered the father of taxonomy.

I guess my question is, what is your opinion or do you have any input on who gets the credit for discovering or establishing something?[/i]
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Post by Terry K. » Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:27 am

I believe you are practically right. Look at the study of the Double Helix of DNA. Watson and Crick were accredited for the discovery when Rosalind Franklin was the one who came up the idea and researched it first. Another factor that comes into play is the sex. Franklin was also not accredited b/c she was a woman.
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canalon
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Post by canalon » Tue Dec 13, 2005 2:42 am

There are many things that come into focus to credit someone of a discovery.
First of all, it must have been known that the discovery was done, this is the role of publication. Now with Internet and huge publishing companies, this is much simpler that it was. Think of Mendel.
Second, plenty of political/financial/academic/sexist plays that are too numerous to list from the lab director publishing under is name and not always acknowledging work by others to huge judicial controversy like for the VIH/HIV or Brca1, and probably also the role of R. Franklin.
And (although I can't think of any other, probably not) last but not least the real discovery. In the example of Linnaeus, it is not only the idea of a nomenclature, it is also about the binomial system, the universal naming, the way species were grouped in genus (that would open the way to evolution, even though Linnaeus was a firm believer). And as for Watson and Crick, who in spite of criticisms were the one that solved the puzzle of the DNA structure. R. Franklin helped a lot, and it could never have been solved with her ability to obtain the diffraction patterns that would allow the insight into the structure, but the idea did not belong to her, nor was she the first (many others were on the same tracks, including L. Pauling who made a fool of himself). SO she should have been acknowledged, but not for everything as suggested by Terry K.
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mith
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Post by mith » Tue Dec 13, 2005 4:39 am

Think of them as inventions, the person with the patent is the one who gets the credit even though it might not always be fair.
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Post by Avalbane » Tue Dec 13, 2005 11:14 pm

Wow, that's alot of info.
Thanks guys.
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