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I've always wondered how credit for scientific discoveries is attributed. Take this example from Wikipedia:

The Merkle–Damgård construction was described in Ralph Merkle's Ph.D. thesis in 1979. Ralph Merkle and Ivan Damgård independently proved [...]

Ivan Bjerre Damgård [...] discovered the structure independently of Ralph Merkle and published it in 1989.

Here we have 2 researchers who independently discovered the same structure. One of them published it in 1979. The other published it a whole 10 years later. Why is it that the credit is not attributed to the person who discovered it first?

  • I don't know the specifics here, but you may be misinterpreting the article. It doesn't say that they did exactly the same thing, but ten years apart. I think the overall development and verification of the "structure" took some time. But independent work is pretty common and cryptography is a pretty closed world. – Buffy Aug 4 '19 at 14:29
  • I also don't know the specifics, but in this particular case it seems that Merkle didn't actually publish it in a journal (Crypto) until 1989, in the same volume as Damgård. If so, it's likely that people just didn't read Merkle's thesis, and were introduced to the ideas at the same time. – Anyon Aug 4 '19 at 20:12

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