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Before Nobels: Gifts to and from rich patrons were early science's currency

from The Conversation

While the Nobel Prizes are 115 years old, rewards for scientific achievement have been around much longer. As early as the 17th century, at the very origins of modern experimental science, promoters of science realized the need for some system of recognition and reward that would provide incentive for advances in the field. Before the prize, it was the gift that reigned in science. Precursors to modern scientists — the early astronomers, philosophers, physicians, alchemists and engineers — offered wonderful achievements, discoveries, inventions and works of literature or art as gifts to powerful patrons, often royalty. more

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