There are a lot of questions on the site that have the format "Who first [____]?" or "When was [____] discovered/created?". Some examples:
- Who created topology, and when, and what problems lead to this creation?
- Who discovered the "Comet" as a celestial object?
- Who invented the integers? Who pitched in the theory of Hollow Earth?
- When was the modern field theory approach to Galois theory developed?
The problem with these is that it is extremely hard to prove that a certain person was the first to discover/create/whatever them. As Alexandre Eremenko said here,
It is always difficult (if possible at all) to prove that someone did something first.
I'd argue that, in some cases, it's outright impossible to prove that someone was first.
How can we address this?