Famous quotations often get cited to the wrong famous person. ‘Somebody said something about standing on the shoulders of giants — who was it? Edison? Lincoln? Einstein? Jefferson?’ It may be possible someday to use Google or a similar service to track down the misquotes.
The inspiration, perhaps
A dwarf standing on the shoulders of a giant may see farther than a giant himself.
Robert Burton (February 8, 1577-January 25, 1640), vicar of Oxford University, who wrote The Anatomy of Melancholy to ward off his own depressions
The famous quote
If I have seen further (than you and Descartes) it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.
Sir Isaac Newton, letter to Robert Hooke, February 5, 1675, Julian/February 15, 1676, Gregorian
- On the Shoulders of Giants, title of a book by physicist Stephen Hawking
- On the Shoulders of Giants: The Post-Italianate Edition, by sociologist Robert K. Merton, a humorous send-up of academicism
- On the Shoulders of Giants: New Approaches to Numeracy (1990), from the Mathematical Sciences Education Board of the National Research Council, published by the National Academies Press
- The quotation is reproduced on the edge of the British £2.00 coin, since 1997
- Galileo: On the Shoulders of Giants, 1997 movie about Galileo, by HBO
- Theologian John of Salisbury wrote a similar line, in Latin, in Metalogicon, in 1159.
- Standing on the Shoulders of Giants, 1990, fourth studio album by the British band Oasis; band member Noel Gallagher cribbed the quote from the £2.00 coin, while drunk in a pub.
- On the Shoulders of Giants: The Power of History Told Through Basketball and Music, a story of the Harlem Rens, the first all-black basketball team, with the story of the Harlem Renaissance — a book, movie and CD project by basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
- Even more trivia