• Question: Do you think there have been major scientific discoveries that are being kept secret from the general public?

    Asked by Nicolas to Sheila, Piyush, Gary, Dimitar on 15 Nov 2018. This question was also asked by wiliam14.
    • Photo: Sheila Castilho

      Sheila Castilho answered on 15 Nov 2018:

      Wow that is a nice conspiracy theory right there! =)

      I don’t know to be honest. Maybe a discovery that wouldn’t make much money it’s likely to have the funding withdrawn. It happens sometimes, unfortunately.

    • Photo: Gary Munnelly

      Gary Munnelly answered on 15 Nov 2018:

      No, I don’t think there are major scientific discoveries that are being kept secret, but there are definitely discoveries that don’t get written about, or aren’t published, or that people don’t know about because they don’t read the right papers.

      A good example is Konrad Zuse whose Breadth First Search algorithm is fundamental to how modern computer networks work. His PhD thesis about BFS was rejected in 1945. The algorithm was reinvented by Edward F. Moore in the 1950s and only applied to computer networks in the 1960s by C. Y. Lee. Now it is one of the most important algorithms in computer science, but it was 15 years before anyone realised how useful it was.

      By the way, Konrad Zuse never got his PhD.