Discover or invent

“Philosophy interprets,
 science explains,
 but art shows,
and that which it cannot say.”
– Willem Brakman

We can agree that Isaac Newton did not invent gravity. It was always here, but he gets some credit for naming and describing it. Columbus absolutely did not discover North America. Before he arrived, people had been living here for tens of thousands of years.

After Niels Bohr began to describe quantum mechanics, the atomic bomb became inevitable. The laws of physics combined with the game theory of competitive sovereign nations ensured that it would be discovered sooner or later.

On the other hand, pizza, rap music and bean-to-bar chocolate are all inventions. The novelty, cultural insight and persistence required to conceive and share these ideas were not at all inevitable.

Scientists mostly discover, engineers and artists invent.

Ruud Olijve

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