By way of Coturnix at A Blog Around the Clock, I learned of this challenge from skullsinthestars:
One of the things that I still find incredibly fun about being a scientist is the ability to “touch” history, in the form of the original publication of now famous scientific results….
I agree on this. Some of the old papers are remarkable to read. Although they can feel sort of sepia-toned because of the structure and the language, sometimes the insights are stunning–especially considering the state of the field at that time.
There is a paper that I read in grad school that I have never been able to shake out of my head. So I leaped at this challenge to re-read and analyze this paper. I’m not saying yet what it is–you’ll have to come back and see. I was stunned to find the PDF available (for just $10). Last time I read it I don’t know if they had PDFs….However, it doesn’t have a DOI. I’ll have to create a reference myself for Researchblogging.
The challenge was informal at first, and skullsinthestars completed the personal challenge already with this post:
Although not my field, I love the presentation of this. And I’m impressed with the reach back in time and across the language! I would love to see people’s take on classic papers on other areas as well.
The challenge has picked up some steam and interested other science bloggers. The basic idea is this:
My “challenge”, for those sciencebloggers who choose to accept it, is this: read and research an old, classic scientific paper and write a blog post about it. I recommend choosing something pre- World War II, as that was the era of hand-crafted, “in your basement”-style science. There’s a lot to learn not only about the ingenuity of researchers in an era when materials were not readily available, but also about the problems and concerns of scientists of that era, often things we take for granted now!
A companion paper to the one I want to highlight actually refers to the basement. I LOLed when I read that.
I asked for a deadline (because I work a little bit better that way ). It is the end of May. If you can get the paper and post on it, email skullsinthestars, it will be collected on a permanent page. Also–the date may vary by field. The paper I’m choosing is mid-war, actually. But others may even be more recent, I would think, in molecular biology.
C’mon–touch the past. Join us with a post.