Re: Paper not accepted by a journal - still a pre-print?

From: Albert Henderson <chessNIC_at_COMPUSERVE.COM>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 08:25:54 -0400

on Wed, 7 Aug 2002 Eberhard R. Hilf <hilf_at_PHYSNET.PHYSIK.UNI-OLDENBURG.DE> wrote:

> By the way, the 'preprint idea' was born by Enrico Fermi in 1932,
> a famous physicist, who boosted his career by deciding to send copies
> of his documents by mail to all relevant to his work laboratories in the
> world. That was very well received.

        This is a doubtful claim. I wouldn't nominate Fermi
        before considering the 17th century French Friar,
        Father Marin Mersenne who distributed scientific
        communications to an equally select mailing list.

        James Burke summarized, "In 1644 Torricelli wrote to
        a colleague and friend in Rome, Michelangelo Ricci,
        to explain an experiment ... "Ricci, realizing that
        current Church opinion in Rome would not take kindly
        ..., made a copy of Torricelli's letter and sent it
        to a priest in Paris, Father Marin Mersenne. This man
        was an extraordinary Minorite friar who ran a kind of
        scientific salon, to which came many of the more
        radical thinkers of the day. Following his habit of
        copying letters he received and circulating them among
        his many scientific contacts throughout Europe, Mersenne
        became known as the postbox of Europe. It was precisely
        for this reason that the copy of Torricelli's letter
        ended up in Mersenne's hands, and sure enough the first
        thing he did was send another copy of it to a friend
        who was interested in the same problem...." [Connections.
        Boston: Little Brown. 1978. Reprint with new introduction
        1995. ISBN 0-316-11672-6. p. 74]

        Actually, I doubt Mersenne was the first any more than
        Fermi ...

        Best wishes,

Albert Henderson
Received on Thu Aug 08 2002 - 13:25:54 BST

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