Can a new Einstein exist in this day and age?

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Magical Realist, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Maybe, but it is tough to tell. Unfortunately, you can't just be born Einstein, you must be born Einstein to the right parents in the right country and have the right set of childhood experiences to maximize your gifts. For example, given that almost all Nobel prize winners in science have been male, probably about half of the potential Einsteins born to the right parents in the right countries have failed to maximize their gifts.
     
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  3. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    I agree about Einstein and never thought of it that way, but you may also be right about the connection to today. The difference may simply be that science is more collaborative today and as a result it is more common for groups of people to get credit together than individuals.
     
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  5. river Valued Senior Member

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    Many gifted people fall through the cracks .
     
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  7. Ultron Registered Senior Member

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    It is true that science is more collaborative today, but on the other hand it seem that there is also tendency toward group thinking which is hampering really significant breakthroughs. Peer review is gradually degrading into kind of "grammar nazi" approach focusing on keeping people in line with group thinking mainstream norms. Therefore todays Einstein would not be able to publish in peer reviewed journal or even in non peer reviewed arxiv because of missing academic affiliation (as patent clerk).
     
  8. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    The "patent clerk" thing is a commonly cited red herring about Einstein. Since he published his four "miracle year" papers in the same year he got his phd thesis published and was awarded his phd, I have little doubt that if he had needed to cite an institutional affiliation he could have continued to use the University of Zurich and his thesis advisor.

    I was more referring to the fact that as they have to dig deeper to find new data, it costs more money and is more complex, which as a result requires more people to be involved. That has nothing to do with any sort of "groupthink". I find such criticisms silly and ironic since the entire point of science is to break the existing norms and create something new.

    Also, there is strong evidence (such as fake papers often getting through) that peer review is becoming less stringent not more, so that's wrong too.
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Einstein was not a "patent clerk". He was a Patent Office Examiner.

    That is a serious and responsible position, requiring considerable intellect.
     
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  10. Ultron Registered Senior Member

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    Patent clerk is a general historical name for it. He was actually an technical expert level III (Expert III Klasse) with focus on electrotechnics later promoted to technical expert-level II. He later described it as: "ehrwürdiger eidgenössischer Tintenscheisser mit ordentlichem Gehalt" freely interpreted by me as "honest Swiss inkshitter with reasonable wage". He was very lucky that his job was not so demanding so he could pursue his own interests.
     
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Obviously we were all very lucky with respect to that.
     
  12. Russ_Watters Not a Trump supporter... Valued Senior Member

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    Yeah, I used to complain about that but I've mostly given up and stopped. The definition is a bit of an anachronism and the term is not accurate with the modern definition. It is also a complete irrelevancy as would be crooked teeth and a hiking hobby. People generally bring it up to promote The Myth of Einstein as a radical scientific outsider (crackpot), which he most emphatically was not.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    That's one reason it annoys me, the other being that I worked at one time as a patent agent and had to deal with patent office examiners. They were clever and perceptive people, doing a highly intellectual job. Not clerks, by any means. And nor would Einstein have been in that job.
     

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