If poor Wallace too had succumbed to his Indonesian infection and Darwin had died, it is clear from other naturalists' notebooks that someone would have arrived at the theory of evolution by natural selection, even if they never read Malthus. Some think Malthus himself was close to recognizing the idea. None of them would have written up the theory in the same way, or used the same arguments, or cited the same evidence, but one way or another today we would be celebrating the 150th anniversary of the mechanics of natural evolution.
With science like molecular biology, we inevitably have n image in our heads of the scientist alone in the lab, hunched over a microscope, and stumbling across a major new finding. But Dunbar's study showed that those isolated eureka moments were rarities. Instead the most important ideas emerged durring regular lab meetings, where dozens of ideas emerged durring regular lab meetings, where a dozen or so researchers would gather and informally present and discuss their latest work. If you looked at the map of idea formation Dunbar created, the ground zero of innovation was not the microscope. It was the conference table.
It is designed to increase the order and organization of knowledge we generate about the world. Science creates "tools" - techniques and methods - that manipulate information such that it can be tested, compared, recorded, recalled in an orderly fashion, and related to other knowledge.
We now look at video installations as things. drawings on paper as things, prints as things. We circle art objects, turn them over in our mind, weigh them, but we never surrender to the image they present without also measuring the thing itself. That innovation is one that no one man can make claim to. It is an innovation that was the product of many minds, male and female. As I am finishing this Two Coats has posted a series of lists and they are all fun to read. I wonder what the game would be like if we were trying to list inovations instead of masterpieces. The nature of artistic innovation is such that, like scientific inovation, authorship will always be dispersed, the mythic lonely genius will be the great exception, not the rule. Additionally it removes the distortion of art historical imprimatur that privileges male artists.