There’s a short rumination in this week’s Nature in which Dean Keith Simonton, a psychologist from the University of California, Davis asks a question that often surfaces: Is the age of scientific genius over? Will we see another Einstein, Darwin or Newton or is the idea of the lone genius assiduously scribbling at his desk and making a breakthrough a relic of the past?No, Einstein was not a lone genius working in isolation. He is widely credited with special relativity being his solitary accomplishment, but it was really a restatement of much more original work by Lorentz and Poincare.
His work on general relativity was not solitary at all, as he collaborated with Grossmann, Levi-Civita, Hilbert, and others. The details are in my book.
Newton and Darwin also relied heavily on the work of others.
When people wonder why there are no more Einsteins, the simple answer is that there never was an Einstein that matched the myth about him.