I have wondered for some time about the apparent concentrations of genius in certain geographic areas during certain eras that seem to produce an awful lot of important knowledge. Is that because the key actors were unusually brilliant geniuses or simply lucky enough to be around as a new area was beginning to emerge?
I once asked here about the concentration of genius in Ancient Greece ca. 500 - 300 BC and whether they were truly unique or just lucky. It seems as if the answer was neither - indeed they were highly influential, but mostly because they, uniquely, wrote stuff down and thus became the dominant intellectual progenitors of thought (and not just ‘Western’ thought).
What about modern physics (relativity, quantum theory)? Other than Einstein (and maybe even including him), were the founders of modern physics just lucky to be there at the right time or were they an unusually concentrated group, in place and time, of geniuses?
I know that others had had intimations of relativity (i.e. Poincare and I assume others) but, even so, they, too, were European and essentially contemporary. Regardless, it seems to me that having Planck, Einstein, Bohr, Heisenberg, Pauli, Dirac, and Fermi, all be near-contemporaneous is somewhat miraculous. Was it a miracle of luck or genius?