I aim to advance our understanding of the size of scientific specialties. Derek Price’s groundbreaking work has provided us
with valuable conceptual tools and data for making progress on this issue. But, I argue that his estimate of 100 scientists
per specialty is flawed. He fails to take into account the fact that the average publishing scientist publishes only 3.5 articles
throughout her career. Hence, rather than consisting of 100 scientists, I have suggested that specialties are probably somewhat
larger, perhaps somewhere between 250 and 600 scientists.
I offer insight into the principles by which the salaries of Italian Renaissance professors were determined. There is a longstanding
fascination with the fact that some professors during the Renaissance had extremely high salaries. It has been suggested that
at the top of the salary scale were the superstars, professors who could attract many students and raise the prestige of the
university. Through an analysis of data on the salaries of professors at Padua in 1422–1423, I argue that much of the differences
in salaries can be explained in terms of the stage of career of professors. Those professors who have taught the longest tend
to be paid the most. Hence, there is little evidence for the superstar thesis.
I examine whether the professionalization of science, a process that unfolded between 1600 and 1899, afforded better opportunities
for young scientists to make significant discoveries. My analysis suggests that the professionalization of the sciences did
make it a little easier for scientists to make significant contributions at a younger age. But, I also argue that it is easy
to exaggerate the effects of professionalization. Older and middle age scientists continued to play an important role in making
significant discoveries throughout the history of modern science.