[ Quote ] Great Ideas Come In Pairs

Ideas do have their unique time in history. When there is a profound interest in solving a problem, more than one person will work on it, and each will have access to the same assortment of knowledge and underlying technology. What develops is a race to make the discovery or create the invention. And in some cases, a race’s “photo finish” produces a duplicate invention. Even in the earlier cases cited by Ogburn and Thomas, there are documented connections between geographically remote actors. For example, it is known that Newton and Leibniz shared a common confidant who passed information between the two contenders. More recent examples of these competitions can be found in books like James Watson’s The Double Helix, which details Watson’s and Crick’s quest to be the first to crack the structure of DNA, and in Brian Cathcart’s The Fly in The Cathedral: How a Group of Cambridge Scientists Won the International Race to Split the Atom, which describes John Cockcroft’s and Ernest Walton’s race to the understand atomic structure. In both cases, competitors reached similar conclusions shortly after the initial announcement of a breakthrough. Can these be considered duplicate inventions?

via Why Great Ideas Come In Pairs | Fast Company.