The history of the first version of Poincaré's essay submitted to the competition sponsored by King Oscar II of Sweden, could be representative of this situation but at the same time of the capacity of overcome previous errors.

The problem of the stability of a planetary system was central from the dawn of newtonian mechanics. A father of Analytical mechanics such as Dirichlet thought to have proved the stability for the n-body problem, but he died suddenly before to write it.

The prize of King Oscar was aimed to obtain such a proof of the stability and infact in the first version of his essay, Poincaré claimed the stability of the restricted 3-body problem. This essay won the prize, but just after the publication of the paper in the Acta he realized the presence of a serious error for the presence of homoclinic orbits. Consequently the published issues were recalled and the second version of the essay was printed.

The existence of a first version of Poincaré's essay has been discovered only in 1994 by June Green-Barrow. The second version is known as the starting point of the qualitative geometric methods in mechanics.

For more information a possible source is Diacu, F., The solution of the n-body problem, Math. Intelligencer 18 (3) 66-70, 1996.