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Thursday, 01 October 2020

“Sleeping beauties” in research

Thursday, 16 July 2015 | Posted by: Kirsten Wrede, European Coatings Journal

It’s really not so easy to find interesting news to share with you in this "dead season" - or "cucumber season”, as we would say in Germany. I’ve browsed a lot of relevant websites, and suddenly I found something striking:

"sleeping beauties” in the form of "research papers that remain dormant for years and then suddenly explode with great impact upon the scientific community”, as Indiana University points out in a new study

They give a stunning example for their thesis: a paper by superbrain Albert Einstein and his co-researchers on a major puzzle in quantum entanglement theory, dating back to 1935, which has only received extensive attention since 1994. Incredible, isn’t it?

"The study provides empirical evidence that a paper can truly be `ahead of its time´, says Alessandro Flammini, one of the authors of the study.

Chemistry is among the disciplines with the highest rate of delayed recognition:

sleeping beauties

Source: IUB

How can you find such "sleeping beauties”? And how much knowledge and creativity gets lost if they will never be awakened! Not to forget: how frustrating it must be to put so much effort on a project no one wants to hear about. If decades pass before a "sleeping” beauty” is awakened, the authors may already have passed away, never to know about their late success. This doesn’t only happen in science, but I also think about artists, painters and writers.

Do you know about research projects, particularly focusing paints and coatings research that for some reason have vanished from the scene? Or have you heard of papers that have suddenly become popular even though they had been written much earlier? Please share them with us!

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