MadRocketSci2 wrote:The other weird thing I've noticed about a lot of the "great names" in math and science history is that to a very large extent they weren't unknown to each other. If you look up the academic geneologies of the big names in mathematics back in the 1700s, a lot of them were doctoral advisors to each other, students of each other, went to alma-maters in the same country. It's almost as if getting a "critical mass" of them together and talking (and teaching each other - otherwise it doesn't sustain) tends to produce the revolutions we are interested in.

That would be an effect of there being very few of them in general. If you have only 50 people involved in a subject world-wide, the odds of any two of them knowing eachother are rather high.

Imagine all of science as taking place within one high school. You'd be somewhat surprised if the two brightest students DIDN'T know eachother.