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New Science Blooms After Star Researchers Die

haidut

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Mar 18, 2013
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As the article aptly quotes Max Planck, the running joke in physics for the last 100+ years has always been that science advances "one funeral at a time". However, up until the study below came out this informal statement/knowledge was viewed as little more than the gripe of cynical, disillusioned, overworked post-docs. Shockingly, it appears the old joke was spot on. I suppose one can say that the findings are quite unsurprising. In an environment dominated by careerism and profit-seeking, truth is quite unwelcome. If it emerges at all it often takes the physical removal of its opponents to finally be recognized, accepted and further developed.

Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?
New science blooms after star researchers die, study finds

"...The famed quantum physicist Max Planck had an idiosyncratic view about what spurred scientific progress: death. That is, Planck thought, new concepts generally take hold after older scientists with entrenched ideas vanish from the discipline. “A great scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” Planck once wrote. Now a new study co-authored by MIT economist Pierre Azoulay, an expert on the dynamics of scientific research, concludes that Planck was right. In many areas of the life sciences, at least, the deaths of prominent researchers are often followed by a surge in highly cited research by newcomers to those fields. Indeed, when star scientists die, their subfields see a subsequent 8.6 percent increase, on average, of articles by researchers who have not previously collaborated with those star scientists. Moreover, those papers published by the newcomers to these fields are much more likely to be influential and highly cited than other pieces of research. “The conclusion of this paper is not that stars are bad,” says Azoulay, who has co-authored a new paper detailing the study’s findings. “It’s just that, once safely ensconsed at the top of their fields, maybe they tend to overstay their welcome.”"
 

daphne134

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Oct 22, 2014
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It's sad how tenaciously many scientists hold on to outdated theories. Goes to show scientists are as human as anyone.
 

Ideonaut

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Joined
Sep 20, 2015
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479
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Seattle
As the article aptly quotes Max Planck, the running joke in physics for the last 100+ years has always been that science advances "one funeral at a time". However, up until the study below came out this informal statement/knowledge was viewed as little more than the gripe of cynical, disillusioned, overworked post-docs. Shockingly, it appears the old joke was spot on. I suppose one can say that the findings are quite unsurprising. In an environment dominated by careerism and profit-seeking, truth is quite unwelcome. If it emerges at all it often takes the physical removal of its opponents to finally be recognized, accepted and further developed.

Does Science Advance One Funeral at a Time?50
New science blooms after star researchers die, study finds

"...The famed quantum physicist Max Planck had an idiosyncratic view about what spurred scientific progress: death. That is, Planck thought, new concepts generally take hold after older scientists with entrenched ideas vanish from the discipline. “A great scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it,” Planck once wrote. Now a new study co-authored by MIT economist Pierre Azoulay, an expert on the dynamics of scientific research, concludes that Planck was right. In many areas of the life sciences, at least, the deaths of prominent researchers are often followed by a surge in highly cited research by newcomers to those fields. Indeed, when star scientists die, their subfields see a subsequent 8.6 percent increase, on average, of articles by researchers who have not previously collaborated with those star scientists. Moreover, those papers published by the newcomers to these fields are much more likely to be influential and highly cited than other pieces of research. “The conclusion of this paper is not that stars are bad,” says Azoulay, who has co-authored a new paper detailing the study’s findings. “It’s just that, once safely ensconsed at the top of their fields, maybe they tend to overstay their welcome.”"
I think that's what Thomas Kuhn wrote in his The Structure of Scientific Revolutions, tho it's been 50 years since I read it. Stanford Nobel Laureate physicist Robert Laughlin wrote about how dishonest science is nowadays in A Different Universe. He said you won't convince any scientist of anything if it threatens their grant money. He also says there's actually an ether and scientists know it but it's politically incorrect to say so. (Threatens the primacy of Einstein, I guess.) Great (a veritable new Copernicus, I think) cosmological physicist J. Marvin Hearndon Science | OGA complains in his books about how dishonest and biased the peer review system is for getting things published.
 

Tarmander

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Apr 30, 2015
Messages
3,617
So what happens when the scientists of this study die? Or are they star enough?
 
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