"Ricki Lewis' Law"

The Closing Bell for July 5 was headlined as a lament for the passing of eponyms in science.1 It is unlikely that we will soon dispose of Mendel's Laws or Avogadro's Number. If scientists are jealous about being properly cited in bibliographies, that is a large step towards an eponymic tradition. There may be less of the natural history and surprise observation in science today, but there is no lack of theoretical synthesis that might invite the dignity of being inscribed as a "Law."Self-anointe

Joshua Lederberg
Aug 1, 2004

The Closing Bell for July 5 was headlined as a lament for the passing of eponyms in science.1 It is unlikely that we will soon dispose of Mendel's Laws or Avogadro's Number. If scientists are jealous about being properly cited in bibliographies, that is a large step towards an eponymic tradition. There may be less of the natural history and surprise observation in science today, but there is no lack of theoretical synthesis that might invite the dignity of being inscribed as a "Law."

Self-anointed "Laws" are likely to attach to matters the author is uncertain about, hence need dogmatic assertion. There is no Lederberg's Law in print of which I'm aware; in my correspondence I do find: (October 2001) "An aphorism that is sometimes called (one of) Lederberg's laws: Knowledge-based systems are up against a stonewall until computer programs can read the literature firsthand; and the latter will...