Zeitschrift für allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 272–277

Hindsight and the definition of research success

Illustrated by the history of planetary discovery
  • W. A. Verloren van Themaat

DOI: 10.1007/BF01801362

Cite this article as:
Verloren van Themaat, W.A. Zeitschrift für Allgemeine Wissenschaftstheorie (1984) 15: 272. doi:10.1007/BF01801362


This article compares the discoveries of the planets Neptune and Pluto and the unsuccessful search of intra-Mercurial planets. Its conclusion is, that the search of intra-Mercurial planets was started on the basis of reasonable assumptions and competently pursued, that the success in the search of Neptune and Pluto and the failure in the search of intra-Mercurial planets was not due to greater competence of the successful planet searchers, but to good luck of the successful researchers and bad luck of the unsuccessful researchers.

Copyright information

© Franz Steiner Verlag Wiesbaden GmbH 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • W. A. Verloren van Themaat
    • 1
  1. 1.SISWO, Sektion Wissenschaftsforschung Oudezijds Achterburgwal 128AmsterdamNiederlande