Spend enough time looking at scientific discoveries and you'll realize that they are rarely named after the scientists who originally discovered them. The phenomenon is called Stigler's law of eponymy. To be consistent with his own law, Stigler acknowledged that economist Robert Merton was the "discoverer" of Stigler's law. To be even more consistent with the law, I've written it down and coined it as my own.

There's a great quote that's attributed to Mark Twain, although there's no evidence that he actually said this.

It takes a thousand men to invent a telegraph, or a steam engine, or a phonograph, or a photograph, or a telephone or any other important thing — and the last man gets the credit and we forget the others. He added his little mite — that is all he did. These object lessons should teach us that ninety-nine parts of all things that proceed from the intellect are plagiarisms, pure and simple; and the lesson ought to make us modest. But nothing can do that.

Here are some examples of Stigler's law.


My two other favorite quotes often misattributed to Mark Twain:

The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco. (source)
Don't believe everything you read on the internet