The deadline for the Classic Papers Chellenge is looming – the end of May. Submit it to Skulls in the Stars and have it collected here. As I mentioned before, I’d like to see this turn into a monthly blog carnival. It would have some kind of criteria developed, but perhaps those should be flexible. Let’s say that a “classic paper” is one that gave birth to a new discipline (or subdiscipline), or rewrote the textbooks, and overturned a long-held pernicious dogma of some kind. And let’s say it is more than 30 years old, though this may be waived in cases of really young disciplines.
As I mentioned recently, old classic papers are essential for newcomers into any field. In order to be good and successful, one needs to grok the historical, theoretical, methodological and philosophical context of one’s discipline. I am finding it difficult to pick one to write myself because in so many posts I place new research in such context by also describing ancient experiments. I covered the early history of the field before, including some famous stuff. I posted new ideas based on some very old papers. I have re-visited what is probably the most cited paper in my field. I have used a classical paper in my Tutorials as illustrations of basic concepts. The currently most used textbook cites one of my own papers (twice!) – does that make it a “classic”?
I’ll think about it. Perhaps the old posts can be used for this first edition. Perhaps I can do one monthly post specifically describing one of the old classical papers. I’d enjoy doing this, actually.