Memoir on inventing the confocal scanning microscope,

In this issue, we carry an article which we invited Prof. Marvin Minsky to write about his invention of the confocal scanning microscope. This is not a question of recognizing priority for a scientific insight or discovery. It is much more a question of raising the problem of how it can be possible that such an immensely important idea can go unrecognized for such a very long period. It may possibly be the case that after more research we find that yet another person discovered the same idea. That does not matter. The fact is that Minsky invented such a microscope identical with the concept later developed extensively by Egger and Davidovits at Yale and by Shepherd and Wilson in Oxford and Brakenhoff and colleagues in Amsterdam etc. The circumstances are also remarkable in that Minsky only published his invention as a patent. Yet he not only built a microscope and made it work and it was the kind of prototype of which we would be proud but he showed it to a number of people who went away impressed but nevertheless failed to adopt the concept.
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