About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER
Advertisement

Report: Five Scientific Breakthroughs That Were Credited to the Wrong People

by Rajashri on August 7, 2008 at 3:17 PM
Font : A-A+

 Report: Five Scientific Breakthroughs That Were Credited to the Wrong People

Here are five scientific breakthroughs for which wrong persons were credited.

Back in 1885, the discovery of the bacterium, then known as Salmonella cholerae-suis, took place in the lab of Daniel Elmer Salmon, a major figure in veterinary medicine.

Advertisement

The discovery was credited solely to Salmon despite the fact that he contributed nothing to the work: it was a result of the efforts of a young researcher named Theobald Smith, who isolated the bacterium while studying classical swine fever (hog cholera) in Salmon's lab.

Another wrongly named discovery is Hansen's disease, commonly known as leprosy, which is so called in honour of the Norwegian physician Gerhard Armauer Hansen, who discovered the bacterium responsible for the condition.
Advertisement

Though Hansen identified Mycobacterium leprae in 1873, he did not show that it was truly linked to leprosy.

It was Albert Neisser, the discoverer of the gonorrhoea bacterium, who actually succeeded in staining the bacterium and, in 1880, announced that he had discovered the cause of leprosy.

Infuriated, Hansen fought back with a lengthy article describing how his research had progressed since 1870, and was eventually given the credit following a decision taken at a conference on leprosy.

According to a New Scientists magazine report, the two experts might have shared the credit, but Neisser's arrogant behaviour turned out to be the cause of his downfall in the end.

Third wrongly named breakthrough was Benford's law, named after the optical physicist Frank Benford.

The magazine report says that mathematician and astronomer Simon Newcomb had made this discovery about six decades before Benford.

In 1881, Newcomb showed that, in lists of numbers drawn from real-life sources, the numbers are disproportionately likely to begin with the lower digits, particularly 1.

He also put forward an equation describing the probability of a number starting with a given digit, although he did not have a good explanation for the strange fact.

His discovery was subsequently forgotten for about 60 years, and was independently rediscovered in 1938 by Benford.

Though Benford checked it against a great many data sets, an explanation eluded him too.

The evidence Benford accumulated was enough to establish the law, and also to get it permanently associated with his name. Nevertheless, Newcomb unquestionably discovered it first.

Next on the list is the Arrhenius equation, k = Ae-Ea/RT, which describes how the rate constant (k) of a chemical reaction varies with temperature (T) and the reaction's activation energy Ea.

It is commonly called the Arrhenius equation after the Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius, one of the key figures in physical chemistry, and the first person to predict that increasing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would cause global warming.

However, it was first put forward by the Dutch chemist Jacobus Henricus van 't Hoff in 1884, in his book Studies in Chemical Dynamics based on studies of many different chemical reactions.

Some five years later, Arrhenius provided a physical explanation for van 't Hoff's discovery when he came up with the concept of activation energy - the "kickstart" energy level that must be reached before a reaction can begin.

He acknowledged van't Hoff in his paper, but the equation nevertheless became indelibly linked to him.

Fifth wrongly named discovery was Halley's comet, named after Edmond Halley.

The comet itself had been observed as far back as 240 BC, by Chinese astronomers, and it is possible that even earlier sightings were made.

Johannes Kepler certainly saw it in 1607, and Halley himself saw it in 1682, making some rough observations.

Halley later realised the comet he had seen was extremely similar to comets seen in 1607 and 1531, and came to the conclusion that the comet was periodic - that it returned to the vicinity of Earth about every 76 years.

He predicted when the comet would return, and when it came back in 1758, 16 years after his death, it became known as Halley's comet.

The comet bears Halley's name not because he discovered it, but because he was the first to predict its behaviour.

Source: ANI
RAS/L
Advertisement

Advertisement
News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Advertisement
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Black Tea Protects against Blood Pressure and Heart Diseases
Green Mediterranean Diet may Help Repair Age-Related Brain Damages
Cervical Cancer Awareness Month 2022
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.


Recommended Reading
Salmonellosis
Poor hygienic practices during cooking or handling of food products can cause this distressing ......
Salmonella Engineered to Administer Vaccines in the Body
Scientists at the Biodesign Institute, affiliated to Arizona State University, claim to have made a ...
TV Celebrity Chefs Setting a Bad Example to Millions of Viewers
Viewers watch chefs serve up salads without washing the ingredients and often forget to wash their ....

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2022

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use
open close
CONSULT A DOCTOR
I have read and I do accept terms of use - Telemedicine

Advantage Medindia: FREE subscription for 'Personalised Health & Wellness website with consultation' (Value Rs.300/-)