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Was Mendel's paper on Pisum neglected or unknown?

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Recent reinterpretations of Mendel's 1865 paper on Pisum as normal nineteenth-century science do not automatically solve the neglect issue. Those who argue that there were cognitive grounds for its neglect have only created a greater paradox, for if Mendel's work was not ahead of its time but was simply excellent normal science, then it should have been used by his contemporaries, as indeed was his work on Hieracium , which was average work. An examination of the nineteenth-century data in terms of recent knowledge about scientific communication suggests that knowledge of Mendel's Pisum work (unlike his Hieracium work) never entered the informal communication network of nineteenth-century botany, and that very few individuals, either by chance or referral, located the BrĂ¼nn Verhandlungen and read the paper. By this interpretation, Mendel's work was not neglected, it was not known.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 740 Columbia Street, Shreveport, Louisiana, 71104, U.S.A.

Publication date: May 1, 1985

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