Stigler’s Law of Eponymy

Education Science

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!]

4 thoughts on “Stigler’s Law of Eponymy

  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.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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