Nineteen sixty-two

Made it from 1953-1962 in my journal abstract marathon. It’s interesting to see how many ideas that come up nowadays were vaguely formulated so far back in the past. It’s also interesting to see how lon it took for terminology to become finalized. Common concepts in my field such as mutual information were not pinned down for a while, and there are editorials calling for this or that to be well defined and for definitions to be fixed. There’s a hilarious editorial by Doob, who criticizes the way in which results start out as intuitive and appealing but incorrect, and in the bloody iterative process of making them mathematically rigorous they lose their applicability, a criticism which is still valid.

The most depressing thing for me is that very simple results that we do for homework in classes now were once considered worthy enough for publication in a journal. That’s progress, and it is good. But it’s getting harder and harder to tell an interesting story I think.