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Re: Second rate programmers and my confession

by Maclir (Curate)
on Jun 05, 2002 at 20:06 UTC ( #171979=note: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

in reply to Second rate programmers and my confession

I was reminded of the quotation that may have been attributed to Einstein:
If I have seen further that anyone else, it is only because I was standing on the shoulders of giants.
Of course, I have probably not got the wording exact. But what he ws saying (assuming it was Einstein), is that our knowledge / expertise / whatever is built upon that of others.

What Ovid is saying about one's skills is very true. I thouhg I was a good racing sailor until I started to race on offshore boats. After two years on one boat, I moved to a larger, faster boat. With each change in environment, my skills improved dramatically.

Update: As a number have said, it was Issac Newton who said the above statement. Maybe Einstein said it as well, since by his time there were many more giants whose shoulders he could have stood on.

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Re: Re: Second rate programmers and my confession
by Ovid (Cardinal) on Jun 05, 2002 at 20:11 UTC

    That quote is actually attributed to Isaac Newton and may, in fact, have been an insult. Apparently, some of Newton's work was discovered independantly by another individual, named Hooke (I forget his first name). Apparently, in a polite email feud, Newton made his comment. Hooke, however, was apparently rather short and Newton's comments may have been a nasty reference to Hooke's height and, presumably, his intellectual capacity.


    Update: ROTFLMAO :) Of course Newton didn't have email. I meant "mail". Heh ...

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      Newton was not a nice person. He had a big ego, always tried to make him look better than his peers. He got real nasty in his long standing argument with Leibnitz, (Newton's "fluxions" vs Leibnitz' derivates), dividing the Western scientists into two camps. Newton also made his Principae (spelling?) hard to read, on purpose. He didn't want to be bothered by remarks and questions from "lesser scientists".

      Does that mean Newton didn't understand his stuff? Or that he wasn't a first class scientists? I don't think so.


        Does that mean Newton didn't understand his stuff? Or that he wasn't a first class scientists? I don't think so.

        Yes, I think it's indicative of not being a first-class scientist. I don't think anyone would say that Newton wasn't brilliant, but part of being a scientist is making Knowledge available to the world. The pursuit of science is (or should be) ultimately altruistic, and if Newton deliberately made his writings harder to read than they could have been, then he was a second-rate scientist. He allowed his ego to get in the way of the real purpose of scientific exploration.

      Newton had email?
Re: Re: Second rate programmers and my confession
by amarceluk (Beadle) on Jun 06, 2002 at 12:51 UTC
    I've heard the quote attributed to Einstein too; it's no surprise that he'd quote Newton, though, since Newton was one of those giants.

    "Abby-somebody. Abby-normal."
    Young Frankenstein

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