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10 high profile cases when the scientific laurels went not to the


Science (especially nowadays) is not only a long kochanie over formulae, structures and practice models, a careful study of the microcosm through the microscope (or the universe through a telescope).

It is also a serious struggle for academic laurels. After all, major modern study often require the it team work on a project can work from several laboratories in different parts of the world. Hundreds, if not thousands of scientists, and each of them really want to stand in the list of authors of scientific discoveries closer to the beginning.

Actually, such situation has developed not today, – in the seventeenth century, scientists butting for the title of discoverer of a phenomenon. Let's look at the brightest examples of cases where science has not won the first.

10. Stardust

Cecilia Payne became one of the most famous (and productive) astronomers in history. In 1925 she successfully determined the composition of star dust (proving that stars consist mainly of hydrogen and helium, not iron, as it was believed before) and wrote a thesis about it.

But, alas, women at that time did not complain in science, also against Cecilia strongly supported Henry Norris Russell, who declared that the stars are composed of the same elements as the Earth.

Time and further research showed that law still Payne. And, by the way, many of her colleagues called the work of Cecilia's most striking thesis ever written in astronomy.

However, the title of Professor Payne (then Payne-Gaposhkin – in 1934 she married Russian immigrant, is also an astronomer) awarded only in 1956, when Harvard became more loyal to women.

Many of the most important works of Cecilia (which is of great importance in astronomy) was published only after her death, but in life she had published in collaboration with men (often her husband).

9. Light bulb

We all know the conventional incandescent bulb. And most people know who invented it, the American Thomas Alva Edison.

But in fact, the first working version of the light presented to the colleagues in 1879 (8 months before Edison) inventor Joseph Wilson Swan.

Edison and Swan knew all about the experiences each other and consciously competed for victory in the race for the light bulb.

Lamp Shikarpur looks almost indistinguishable from the similar inventions of Edison, but it was less suitable for use at home: for it needed a more powerful electrical current, she quickly burned out and gave out a lot of soot, which settled on the glass inside the bulb and did the lamp useless.

But Edison made the filament is thinner, and the electrical resistance is higher and its more vivid and long-lasting light bulb won him the coveted patent and the glory of the discoverer.

And if to approach to this question quite honestly, the incandescent lamp in 1872, invented a Russian electrical engineer A. N. Lodygin, and its modern variant (tungsten filament), it is tested in the 1890s

8. Phone

A century and a quarter the inventor of the telephone was considered to be Alexander Graham bell. And only on 11 June 2002, the U.S. Congress, it is officially recognized that the invention really belongs to the Italian immigrant Antonio Meucci, who filed a patent in 1871 (5 years before Bella), and that bell probably just got access to the materials and drawings Meucci (Italian Treasury for pennies company the Western Union where bell worked).

Since Meucci didn't have money for lawyers (and energy to defend their rights against a large company), besides, he spoke English, then Italian and ended his life in poverty.

And, by the way, another inventor of the telephone is sometimes called Ilisu gray. Allegedly, he tried to file a patent application on the same day as bell (14 February 1876), just bell was closer to the front of the queue at the patent office.


When in the 1970s – early 1980s, the world has become widely spread AIDS, it's caused a real panic, because nobody knew what causes it (and many were sure that it is spread through the air).

So research to find this very malicious and dangerous virus has begun in several countries. In the end a situation arose when it became unclear who actually owns the leadership in the detection of the pathogen.

The fact that scientists of the US and France worked closely together, exploring different strains of the virus and sharing fresh scientific information.

In the end, the Frenchman Luc Montagnier (with his assistant françoise barré-Sinoussi) and American Robert Gallo came to almost identical results in 1983, but the Nobel prize in 2008 was awarded to the French, in General, not referring to Gallo.

Of course, Gallo very angry and began to accuse Montagnier in scientific plagiarism.

6. The atomic bomb

Well aware that the first working atomic bomb, the result of which started in 1939 the secret of the Manhattan project (under the leadership of physicist Robert Oppenheimer and General Leslie groves) was tested in the USA on 16 July 1945 in Alamogordo (new Mexico).

But in fact, this project involved many German scientists, in time emigrated from Nazi Germany. But the German nuclear program started much earlier – in 1938, Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman for the first time split the nucleus of an atom of uranium, and in February 1942 was built by the first German nuclear reactor.

And who knows what ideas and materials brought with them to America, Otto Frisch, Hans Bethe and other scientists from Germany? (And what materials in the nuclear industry American intelligence produced in Europe during the Second world war). Possible if not for the failure of the front after 1943, the Germans would create the bomb first.

5. Chromosomal sex determination

Another woman who has not received worthy of her achievements timely scientific recognition only due to the fact that I was born at the wrong time.

That is Nettie Stevens first discovered X and Y chromosomes and proved that gender does not determine the environmental factors. She was one of the first geneticists are female in the United States, and extremely talented. Nevertheless, male colleagues took Stevens down exclusively, stubbornly ignoring her ideas.

When Netti Stevens wrote his dissertation, Sam was the leader, and each tried to assign part of its scientific results. Stevens received his PhD in 1903, and until his (premature) death in 1912, he worked in the field of Cytology and embryology, making a lot of discoveries.

But still, the first researcher of chromosomes in most biology textbooks called Thomas Morgan (which Stevens is advised to work with the fly-blown).

4. TV

The TV is also invention, which simultaneously worked several scientists and engineers. At the moment basic scientific laurels about the so beloved zombie-box divided American Philo Taylor Farnsworth and emigrated to the United States in 1919 (due to the Civil war) Vladimir Kozmich Zworykin.

V. K. Zworykin received a patent first in 1923, he is the author of the original idea. (Although the teacher Farnsworth argued that Philo in the age of 14 he described in detail the device and principle of work of what would later be called a TV).

The television transmitter Farnsworth was slightly more successful, therefore, the first royalty for the sale of TVs received the American. But Zworykin later again modified the device, and in the 1940s made it colored.

By the way, Farnsworth and Zworykin communicated very well, discussing the advantages and disadvantages of their options television devices.

3. Telescope

Most of us know that telescope was invented by Galileo Galilei. In fact, the famous scientist heard about the simplest telescope (one concave and one convex lens in the tube) in about 2 years after its invention.

He's just kind of smoothed it out overnight and then presented to the city Council of Padua, where he lived and studied astronomy.

These same inventors of this useful tool are considered at once some persons: dispensing optician Johann Lippershey, Zacharias Jansen and Jacob Metius. All three Dutch people (from different cities) who have demonstrated their own versions of the telescope in 1607

But, according to some reports, something like Johannes Kepler was mentioned in 1604, and Leonardo da Vinci is already in 1509-M. by the Way, if the telescopes of Jansen, Metius and Lippershey increased only 3 times (they would hardly be useful in astronomy), the design of the Galileo, named perspicillum, at 32 times.

2. Evolution

Same story with the theory of evolution – everybody knows that its author was the English naturalist Charles Darwin.

But few know that his famous book On the origin of species by means of natural selection ... (1859), he still issued a (long, lingering this time, mainly because of serious fears for his family, a religious community, of course, took his ideas with hostility) because they were afraid of competition.

Darwin decided that he could get ahead of Alfred Russel Wallace – a young scientist who conducted very similar studies that brought him to virtually the same conclusions about the mechanism of natural selection in nature and the evolution of animals.

But unlike Darwin, Wallace did not develop his theory further, voluntarily leaving the priority for them a highly respected senior colleague.

By the way, Wallace is still assumed that the evolution from apes to humans could not happen without the intervention of some higher power (because they could not clearly explain the differences in the intellectual abilities of humans and animals).

1. The DNA double helix

The discovery in 1953 of the structure of DNA (the double helix) has become one of the most important breakthroughs in science and gives the future a quantum leap in biology. It finally helped me to understand how genes interact and how genetic code is passed on to the next generation.

In 1962, this work was highly appreciated by the Nobel Committee, awarded the award for Physiology and medicine American James Dewey Watson and two Englishmen Francis Crick and Maurice Frederick Wilkins (who worked on the problem together).

But it never mentioned the name Rosalind Franklin, English biophysicist and radiograph. Meanwhile, this is a clear x-ray photographs of macromolecules DNA has prepared the basic ground for the discoveries of Watson and Crick.

By the way, Maurice Wilkins, who worked with Franklin at king's College, University of London, and became the man that caught Rosalind to work on the structure of DNA.

Alas, to receive the award, she could not (since he died in 1958 of cancer), but absolutely does not deserve her name was actually removed from the list of one of the authors of the best scientific work of the twentieth century.

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