Well, the result is in for The Greatest Physics Paper!
The vote counts, at close of play (9:00pm PST, 16th January), are:
25 votes: I. Newton, Philosophiae Naturalis Principia Mathematica. 1687. (This counted as a paper.) Link here for the votes.
18 votes: P. A. M. Dirac, The quantum theory of the electron, Proc. R. Soc. London A 117 610-612 (1928); The quantum theory of the electron Part II Proc. R. Soc. London A 118 351-361 (1928). (These two papers counted as one.) Link here for the votes.
14 votes: E. Noether, “Invariante Variationsprobleme,” Nachr. v. d. Ges. d. Wiss. zu GÃ¶ttingen 1918, pp235-257. Link here for the votes.
11 votes: A. Einstein, Die Grundlage der allgemeinen Relativitaetstheorie, Annalen der Physik 49 (1916), 769-822. Link here for the votes.
7 votes: A. Einstein, B. Podolsky and N. Rosen, Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete? Phys Rev 47, 777 (1935). Link here for the votes.
So Newton does it again!
But we all know that it’s not really the “winner” that’s the most interesting thing. Have a look at the links to the voting threads, and to the original nominations thread for some very interesting and informative comments from several readers. You see, this high quality discussion is what counted here: Not what I think is the greatest physics paper (a meaningless -or at least unquantifiable- concept anyway) but your opinions and thoughts about what makes a great paper, what the great papers are, and why you chose your candidates…..
Thanks to all for contributing, and let’s all promise that very soon we’ll each go out and read at least one classic paper in the original.