On Consensus and Funding

A few days ago I picked up a copy of Time magazine, which featured several of the most prominent scientists of this century. One of the most prominent was, of course, Albert Einstein. Then later, I read the Opinion page by Nejat Düzgünes in the April 12 issue of The Scientist.1 The juxtaposition of these two articles got me thinking: What would have happened if Albert Einstein had been required to submit to a funding agency in Switzerland a grant proposal to study relativity but under

Roger Floyd
Jun 6, 1999

A few days ago I picked up a copy of Time magazine, which featured several of the most prominent scientists of this century. One of the most prominent was, of course, Albert Einstein. Then later, I read the Opinion page by Nejat Düzgünes in the April 12 issue of The Scientist.1 The juxtaposition of these two articles got me thinking: What would have happened if Albert Einstein had been required to submit to a funding agency in Switzerland a grant proposal to study relativity but under the same requirements and documentation of funding agencies today? He wouldn't have stood a chance of being funded.

Consider:

  1. He had no track record in the area he proposed to study. He had never studied it before.

  2. He had no or very few publications in the field. Everyone knows you have to have published in the field you intend to study to stand...

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