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A comment on this morning’s cometarium post reminded me of this famous axiom in the history of science:

“No scientific discovery is named after its original discoverer.”

Stigler’s Law is named for University of Chicago statistician Stephen Stigler, who attributes it to sociologist Robert K. Merton. [Thanks, Rahere!]

Sean Michael Ragan

I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I write for MAKE, serve as Technical Editor for MAKE magazine, and develop original DIY content for Make: Projects.



  1. Alan says:

    I’m pretty certain that Ed Southern really invented the Southern blot. On the other hand, I understand that he was never particularly keen on naming the procedure after himself – others simply tacked his name to it, and it stuck.

  2. jason says:

    Things aren’t named after the first person to discover them, they are named after the last person to discover them.