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Would a question on, say, the timeline of improvements to an analytical method, or which scientist discovered reaction Z first, be welcomed on this site?

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My opinion is that the "timeline" question is fine--on physics.SE I've asked one or two questions pertaining to "physics at a certian time period", and they were well recieved. Evolution of a topic is necessary for full understanding{*}

I say that the scientist one is a close-as-"not enough research", though--it's usually Googleable.

*Firsthand experience:explain Quantum mechanics normally, everyone is confused. Explain QM via its history, and everyone appreciates it and is interested in learning more

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