Dr. Franz Graf-Stuhlhofer

Summary: On personalizing and dating of scientific discoveries

The historiography of science annexes each discovery by assigning to it certain discoverers’ names and dates. There are some objections against this practise, but also some reasons to proceed in this way. The objections are based, for example, on following difficulties: The social interdependence of the scientists - they were not acting as isolated individuals (as emphasized by sociologists); humanism ascribes many discoveries to the antiquity, but regarding this age it is seldom possible to give an exact date of a discovery. The motivation for personalizing and dating of discoveries can be, for example, didactic or nationalistic. Furthermore, historiography tries to evaluate the impact of discoveries, and science studies take discoverers as objects. In any case, in research there are a number of approaches to personalizing and dating discoveries.