We’ve been looking at the global first-appearance question: why did modern science appear first in Western Europe as opposed to the empires of China, Islam, or India? But there’s another, more local, first-appearance question: why England as opposed to, say, France, Italy, or the Netherlands?
The answer cannot be a monopoly on brilliant scientists. Scientists in nearly every nation across Western Europe contributed crucial scientific steps, as described earlier. Luck and timing always play a role in creativity and invention—the essence of a first-appearance story. Branch Rickey was the Hall of Fame baseball executive who created baseball’s farm league system for developing new talent: players compete in the Minors and rise up to the Majors if they do well. He used that system to build eight World Series teams. It was Branch Rickey who originated the saying cited in part one: “Luck is the residue of design.” England did one thing quite differently—much better than its neighbors, which set it up to be luckier than its neighbors. England established the earliest example of a successful loonshot nursery inside one country.