Nov 9, 2010

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The shortest scientific physics paper ever

SMAISMRMILMEPOETALEUMIBVNENUGTTAVIRAS must rank as one of history’s shortest scientific publications. In 1610, it caused a sensation among the prominent scientists of Europe. It came, after all, just months after the same author had announced that four satellites were orbiting Jupiter. Publishing his result in the form of an anagram allowed Galileo to claim priority for his latest discovery without revealing what it was to his competitors.

Three months later, Galileo went public and decoded the anagram: Altissimum Planetan Tergeminum Observavi—I have observed the farthest planet

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  1. “That’s one small step for [a] man, one giant leap for mankind”

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