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Single man revolution in Theoretical Physics today?

  1. Jun 29, 2007 #1
    In the past we had single man revolutions in theoretical physics like Galileo, Newton, Einstein. Will there likely be another figure as big as them today? Or will today be more groups of people building up their ideas rather than a single person producing all the big ideas?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 29, 2007 #2
    none of those were truly single man revolutions, off the top of my head galileo built off of copernicus' ideas who himself built off of aristarchus of somos, newton built off of galilean relativity, and einstein had maxwell
  4. Jun 29, 2007 #3
    I mentioned this in another thread--yes.

    It may be that all these men used the knowledge of previous ideas, yet they were singly the 'ones' that had the creative spark--and it will almost always be that way. Rarely does even the Nobel committee recognize the 'groups' for its prizes (yes, it does 'sometimes'). Its a an individual's creative process usually that makes a 'leap'--teams can help build the idea, but not initial 'idea'. Like a painting, a poem, or a paper, its the individual who initiates the process of invention through a creative mind.
  5. Jun 29, 2007 #4
    Offcourse. I just like to compare the extent of single handedness today with the past.
  6. Jun 29, 2007 #5
    There are still single man revolutions today, I believe.. It's just become so 'corporate' that the person behind the idea cannot be mentioned but as a group.

    Like we have the infamous 'father of stealth technology'.. Which otherwise remained unknown if he haven't created a big mess, we'd instead hearing only 'Boeing'...

    Even bigger revolutions are being made.. Other than, there's too many nowadays making 'quantum leaps' (due to the benefits of 20th/21st century technology such as advanced scientific tools and internet). Too many that you can't just single out one of them. And sometimes, the discovery is far too complex to be comprehended by anyone(unlike Galileo's Newton's). So it never gets too famous

    ..Too many people making revolutions nowadays as compared hundred years ago, you can't just single out one or few.
  7. Jun 29, 2007 #6
    A lot of big developments these days will involved massive collaborations (ITER, LHC, LIGO), but the public likes to put a face and personality to developments, so I'm sure some individual will again come to be remembered disproportionately above others. :wink:
    (Not today though. Maybe next season.)
  8. Jun 30, 2007 #7
    well, throughout the history, its always been, "who invented/discovered the (fill in the blank)?"--or "who thought of (fill in the blank) first?".....

    It happens in so much of a high percentage that I have never heard the question, "what team/group invented/discovered the (fill in the blank)?" as an initial question (unless the person asking the question is 'asking' for a 'group' answer-and 'knows' the answer, thereby 'biasing' the question's form and the answer)--it may be 'the answer' to some questions--but its not generally. Even in a 'group' (of anything-in the 'real world'), 'something' (not 'somethings') is 'first'----as 'leader of the pack'.

    Even when there are 'group/massive collaborations', there is always one (individual) that initiates the process--just as there is in any 'physics' (or any other area) process/action/reaction--(eg--a chain reaction).

    Anything that 'looks' like a almost impossible undertaking (a 'thing' that seemingly can't be done alone), still has to be started by a single individual, eg --the pyramids.
    Last edited: Jun 30, 2007
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