Mavericks & Heretics - public data
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year of vindication
pariah years
age at vindication
years of gloryage at deathreactionreaction - detailsresistance - detailsworst insult
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today - recognition detailsnotescountryfieldgenderborndiedsource namessource 1source 2source 3source 4source 5
GiordanoBruno“The Sun is a star, one of an infinity in the universe”Astronomy1592441889297341na52killedBurnt at the stake for many progressive, anti-clerical ideas.Burned at the stake as a heretic, partially due to his ideas about pantheism: he wrote a number of violently anti-clerical and heretical tracts.Burned at the stakeRecognitionGolden statue erected where he was executed.Catholic church has said in both 1942 and 2000 that his execution was either justified or understandable.ItalyAstronomyMale15481600
The Harbinger, Wikipedia
Vera Rubin"Stars orbit the galaxy at roughly same speed, meaning a hidden force - Dark Matter - exists & affects gravity."Astronomy19765219804563688rejectedMet with skepticisms and "intense discussion".Met with skepticisms and "intense discussion".SkepticismPrizeMany prizes & awards. 90% of the universe now considered to be "dark matter".USAAstronomyFemale19282016Wikipedia, NPR
FritzZwicky“Unseen “dark matter” pervades & affects the cosmos”Astronomy19333519723974276ignoredSeen as an uncharismatic eccentric. Widely ignored for forty years.Seen as an uncharismatic eccentric (who tried to win arguments through physical fights). He hypothesised dark matter to account for missing mass in galaxy clusters in the 1930s, but was widely ignored until the 1970sNicknamed "Crazy Fritz"PrizeGold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society - 1972.SwitzerlandAstronomyMale18981974
Beam Line, Wikipedia
HannesAlfvénén95600“Movement of fluids can generate magnetic fields & electric currents”Astronomy193729197033622587ignoredSeen as an engineer encroaching on "pure" physics. Difficulty publishing in Anglo-American scientific journals, due to the peer review system, seen as an engineer encroaching on "pure" physicsIgnored, unpublishedNobel PrizeFor Physics - 1970.SwedenAstrophysicsMale19081995
Los Alamos National Laboratory, Wikipedia
SubrahmanyanChandrasekhar“White dwarf stars can lead to black holes”Astronomy193626198347731285discreditedHis colleague Arthur Eddington viciously attacked and discredited him. He fled to the USA to continue his work.His colleague, Arthur Eddington, attacked him viciously and managed to completely discredit Chandrasekhar in Britain, to the extent that he had to work in the USA from 1937 onwards.Discredited, forced to leave UK scientific communityNobel PrizeFor Physics - 1983.Possibly racially motivatedIndia / USAAstrophysicsMale19101995
Nobel Prize Lecture, Royal Astronomical Society, Wikipedia
“[A complicated chemical reaction too difficult to explain in this little box]”
Physical Science
19515819802987na77rejectedRepeatedly rejected until he gave up his research.Early articles proposing his discovery were all rejected, so he gave up on his research. Eventually other scientists continued his work and it was found to be correct.Articles rejectedPrizeLenin Prize - 1980.In 1977 Ilya Prigogine received the Nobel Prize for work in this fieldUSSRChemistryMale18931970
JohnBaird“Radio waves can be used to create a visual broadcast”Engineering19253719294411758ridiculedDescribed as a "lunatic".Daily Express described him as a "lunatic", Royal Society were uninterested.LunaticIdeas AdoptedThe BBC adopted his system.ScotlandEngineeringMale18881946
Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Wikipedia
Wright Brothers“Human flight is possible”Engineering19033219484577na77ignoredThe press were uninterested. The Smithsonian refused to acknowledge their flight.The press were generally uninterested, and the Smithsonian Institute refused to acknowledge their flight in the Flyer at Kitty Hawk as the first manned flight, instead naming a member of the board whose own attempts had failed. The Wright Brothers moved to Europe to try and convince people, but there was still scepticism that they had achieved flight. The idea of the first manned plane became an early equivalent of the Space Race, and was a political issueThe Wrong Brothers, The Lying BrothersRecognitionSmithsonian displays the Wrights’ plane.Not necessarily the first manned flight! A number of early aviators disputed the claims and historians are still uncertain. Age shown is oldest sibling Orville.USAEngineeringMale18711948
Wikipedia, US Govt Centennial of Flight Commission, Smithsonian Institute
BarbaraMcClintock“Certain DNA elements can move around the genome”Biology19514919833281990rejectedMet with puzzlement & hostility, maybe due to her gender.Work published in 1950s was met with puzzlement and hostility, possibly due to her gender; her findings were disregarded for at least 15 yearsIgnoredNobel PrizeFor Medicine - 1983.USAGeneticsFemale19021992
National Library of Medicine, Nature Education
J HarlenBretz“The Scabland deserts in the US were created by massive flooding”
Physical Science
19234119795697299ridiculedDebated and publicly discredited by six elder scientists. Non-Ivy League so lacked status.Invited to a debate against six 'challenging elders' to humiliate him and publicly discredit research; seen as lacking in status because of being non-Ivy League.Laughed atPrizePenrose Medal - 1979.USAGeologyMale18821981
Geological Society of America, Ice Age Floods Institute, Wikipedia
AlfredWegener“The continents slowly drift around the Earth”
Physical Science
191232198068100na50ignoredHis theories were misread and badly recevied. Symposiums organised specifically to critique his work.Theories were misread and badly received. He died in the course of a polar expedition and after his death George Gaylord Simpson, an influential palaeontologist, wrote a strong rebuttal that argued for a permanent formation of continents, and Wegener's theories were ignored. Symposiums organised specifically to critique his workFoundationWegener Institute & Medal -
American Journal of Science, Wikipedia, Alfred Wegener Institute
Robert L.Folk
“Tiny nanobacteria exist, playing an important role in rock & crystal formation”
Physical Science
19926720081683--rejectedBelief that nanobacteria are too small to possibly live, objects of their size can be produced inorganically, they may not existMocked, ignoredIdeas AdoptedStill some controversy.USAGeoscienceMale1925-
Examiner, Michigan State University, PLoS Pathogens
Carl FriedrichGauss“You can calculate geometries beyond the 3D “Euclidean” space of normal experience”Maths18295218714294na78ignoredSelf-censored & didn't publish for fear of ridicule.Self-censorship: didn't publish his findings in his lifetime for fear of ridicule. When János Bolyai published a theory in 1832, Gauss wrote to him that he had been preoccupied with it for 30 years but was too afraid to publish.Bolyai accused him of jealousy; Gauss unable to prove his ideasIdeas AdoptedNow known as ‘projective geometry’.GermanyMathematicsMale17771855
Wikipedia, Mathematics Genealogy Project
-Al-Razi“Fever is a natural defence mechanism” & other medical insightsMedicine895301279384414na60beatenBeaten and mocked.His fame and western teachings brought him into conflict with the local hierarchy, whilst his criticisms of Galen drew accusations of arrogance and ignorance from other physicians. He went blind (& one account attributes this to have been due a blow to the head by his patron, al-Mansour, another to a beating ordered by a mullah who was offended by his main work, al-Hawi). Arrested, works bannedIdeas AdoptedConsidered the father of paediatrics.unknown date of publication of al-Hawi so date of heresy taken as average of year of birth & deathPersiaMedicineMale865925
Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science; New World Encyclopedia; Uxula; Universitas Hasanuddin,_ibn_Zakariya_al-
Ibn ZuhrAvenzoar“The earth evolves & is self-renewing”Medicine11414811904997na69ridiculed
Banned from teaching or writing (persecuted) and spent the rest of his life doing manual labour.
Galen's theories were the official favourites of most major religions. Banned from teaching or writing (persecuted) and spent the rest of his life doing manual labour.Banned from teaching or writingIdeas AdoptedEarly ideas on evolution adopted.SpainMedicineMale10931162
Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science; Ecnyclopedia; The Sage of Seville; JIMA (2006)
LuigiGalvani“The nervous system sends electrical signals (“bioelectricity”)”Medicine17713417972660161ignoredCalled "the frog's dancing master". His contemporary Volta strongly disagree.Alessandro Volta, a contemporary, tried Galvani's experiments, but believed that the results depended on the kind of metal used. Galvani believed that electricity came from the muscle, and was inseparable from biology. To disprove this, Volta invented an early type of battery.Called "the frog's dancing master"Ideas Adopted‘Galvanism’ is electricity produced by chemical action.Bioelectricity was the inspiration for Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'; see VoltaItalyMedicineMale17371798
Brain Research Bulletin, Wikipedia, Etymology Online, Skeptical Investigations
WilliamHarvey“Blood is pumped by the heart & circulates around the body”Medicine16285016603282na79discreditedMost doctors refused to believe his idea which contradicted the accepted view.Harvey's thesis contradicted the accepted views of Galen, and most physicians refused to believe his ideas. His career in the College of Physicians continued to advance, but his opportunities as a practising physician diminished.IgnoredIdeas AdoptedTheories confirmed.EnglandMedicineMale15781657
William Harvey: Masters of Medicine, Wikipedia
Antoine-LaurentLavoisier“Oxygen plays a key role in combustion”Medicine17783517951752na51rejectedMuch opposition from the field, especially the British.
Lavoisier encountered much opposition in trying to change the field, especially from British phlogistic scientists
DeathIdeas AdoptedExonerated by French government.Considered the father of modern chemistryFranceMedicineMale17431794
Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, Wikipedia
MarcelloMalpighi“Tiny blood cells circulate in the blood stream”Medicine16603216699412566beatenHouse was burnt down. Physically beaten and threatened.Well received outside of Italy, but subject to a number of attacks by other professors in his home country. After writing pamphlets against Galenists, his house was burnt down, destroying his library. On a number of occasions he was physically attacked and threatened.House was burned downIdeas AdoptedMember of the Royal Society.ItalyMedicineMale16281694
Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, Wikipedia
BarryMarshall“Bacteria cause most peptic ulcers”Medicine19823120052354--rejectedWidely disbelieved. To convince everyone, Marhsall drank a petri dish containing bacteria to give himself a stomach ulcer.Hypothesis was developed in 1982 but widely disbelieved. In order to prove his ideas, Marshall drank a petri dish containing the bacteria to give himself a stomach ulcer.Deliberately developed a ulcerNobel PrizeFor Medicine - 2005.AustraliaMedicineMale1951-
Academy of Achievement, Nobel Prize Lecture
JosiahNott“Malaria, yellow fever spread by mosquitos”Medicine18484419005296na69ignoredMostly ignored. People believe diseases were caused by noxious swamp gasses.Common conception was that diseases were caused by noxious swamp gases. Nott's findings were based on years of observation but not backed by empirical results. Pasteur's germ theory had not yet been proposed, and Nott was largely ignored. When Pasteur's germ theory was popularised, people still had trouble believing in mosquito transmissionIgnoredIdeas AdoptedStill doesn’t get much credit.See Louis PasteurUSAMedicineMale18041873Skeptic
Francis PeytonRous“Viruses can cause cancer”Medicine19113219665587491ignoredWas ignored of refuted as a relative newcomer. No one bothered to repeat his experiments.Made original claims in 1911, but they were either ignored or refuted and because he was a relative newcomer, nobody bothered to repeat his experiments. IgnoredNobel PrizeFor Medicine - 1966.Nominated for a Nobel Prize as early as 1926, possibly the longest gap between a discovery and an award of the prizeUSAMedicineMale18791970
Bulletin to the NY Academy of Medicine, Wikipedia, Nobel Prize
IgnazSemmelweis“Disinfection of surgeons' hands would prevent fatal child-bed fever”Medicine18472918621544347killedHis idea met with great hostility from doctors who felt accused of being 'unclean'. Dismissed from his hospital post and died in obscurity after a beating in a mental asylum.His ideas were met with great hostility: doctors were either embarrassed or outraged at being considered unclean. He was dismissed from the Vienna hospital, and eventually died in obscurity in a mental asylum, from a gangrenous wound after receiving a beating from guards.Had a breakdown (possibly caused by Alzheimer's) and was tricked into going to an asylum, where he diedIdeas AdoptedFather of antiseptic treatment.He was wrong overall, but only in suggesting that surgeons disinfect only after trips to the morgue.HungaryMedicineMale18181865
Wikipedia, The Etiology, Concept, and Prophylaxis of Childbed Fever,+Concept+and+Prophylaxis+of+Childbed+Fever#v=onepage&q&f=false
MichaelServetus“Blood flows from the heart to the lungs (“pulmonary circulation”)”Medicine1545342011466500na42killedDeemed a heretic. Escaped the Inquisition in Spain but was caught in Switzerland and burnt at the stake.His book outlining ideas about circulation also included his ideas for reforming Christianity and was deemed heretical. Despite escaping from Spain and its Catholic Inquisition, the Protestant Inquisition in Switzerland — under the orders of John Calvin — sentenced him to death, and he was burnt at the stake by the shores of Lake Geneva, with his books.Burned at the stakeRecognitionGeneva erects a statue in 2011 (but Protestants snub the event).SpainMedicineMale15111553
Wired, WIkipedia
AndreasVesalius“De humani corporis fabrica”Medicine15432915551241950exiledAttacked and accused of murder. Famous court physician but attacked for controversially refuting Galenic & Aristotelian medicine & for encouraging human dissections. In 1551, Charles V (of Spain) commissioned an inquiry to investigate the religious implications of these methods. Although Vesalius' work was cleared, the attacks continued & Vesalius was eventually accused of murder, after performing an autopsy on a Spanish nobelman,during which he discovered that the heart was still beating. It is speculated that as a result of this, Vesalius left for a pilgrimage & received a death sentence, only to die on his way back in a shipwreck. His work had been vindicated in 1555 by a previous critic, who claimed that both Galen & Vesalius were right & so the human body must have changed. Accused of murderIdeas AdoptedFather of modern anatomy.The anecdote about murder may be apocryphal! It's possible he chose to go on the pilgrimage himself. Date posited ideas = year De humani corporis fabrica was published.FlandersMedicineMale15141564
Annals of Clinical and Laboratory Science, Wikipedia; New World Encyclopedia; Medical Faculty, Zagreb
LouisPasteur“Infections are spread by invisible germs”Medicine18624018953373na73ignoredMany surgeons ignored him and saw 75% of amputees die due to unclean instruments.Largely ignored, so he took to addressing younger students. Military surgeons ignoring his advice saw three quarters of amputees die because of unclean instruments IgnoredPrizeGrand Croix Legion of Honour - 1895. France
Medicine / Microbiology
Skeptic, Wikipedia
Alice CatherineEvans"Milk should be pasteurised to avoid human infections"Biology191736193013494594rejectedShe was met with skepticism, particularly because she was a woman and did not have a PhD.She was met with skepticism, particularly because she was a woman and did not have a Ph.D.RecognitionPasteurisation introduced in the US 1930. Rates of the milk-induced Brucellosis disease dropped.USAMicrobiologyFemale18811975Wikipedia
"After Bacteria & Eukaryota, there is a 3rd domain of organisms: the Archaea"
Biology19774919858572784ridiculedProminent biologists objected. Dubbed a "crank" and a "scarred revolutionary".Prominent biologists objected. Dubbed a "crank" and a "scarred revolutionary".RecognitionMany medals & prizes. Had 3 microbes named after him.USAMicrobiologyMale19282012Wikipedia
StanleyPrusiner“Prions are infectious, self-reproducing proteins”Biology19824019971555--rejectedThe basic premise of the ideas seemed to threaten certain basic principles of molecular biology, and thus were seen as heretical.Prusiner announced the protein before his experiments had isolated it, so was accused of seeking fame. A number of questions remained unanswered, and the basic premise of the ideas seemed to threaten certain basic principles of molecular biology, and thus were seen as hereticalAccused of seeking fameNobel PrizeFor Physiology - 1997.USA
Neurology / Biochemistry
Wikipedia, Nobel Prize, Science Magazine
FernandoNottebohm“New brain cells continue to form into adulthood”Biology19894920061766--ignoredGenerally ignored by mainstream science until the mid-1990s.Generally ignored by mainstream science until the mid-1990s.IgnoredPrizeBenjamin Franklin Medal in Life Science - 2006.ArgentinaNeuroscienceMale1940-
Rockefeller University, Science, Lafayette University
RobertBakker“Some dinosaurs were warm-blooded & evolved into birds”
Physical Science
1968231975730--rejectedNo academic appointments (still), seen as a populist controversialist.No academic appointments (still), seen as a populist controversialist.Caricatured in The Lost World: Jurassic ParkRecognitionTriggered ‘dino renaissance’.USAPaleontologyMale1945-
Berkeley, East Tennessee State University, Wikipedia
Rohrer, Gimzeski
“A scanning tunnelling microscope can image surfaces at an atomic level”
Physical Science
1982351986439--ridiculedLaughed off the stage at a conference.Laughed off the stage at a conference.Laughed atNobel PrizeFor Physics - 1986.Age shown is Gerd BinnigSwitzerlandPhysicsMale1947-Science News
ErnstChladni“Meteorites fall from outer space, not from volcanoes”
Physical Science
17943818039472471ridiculedRidiculed, most believed that meteorites were part of a volcanic cycle.Ridiculed, most believed that meteorites were part of a volcanic cycle.Laughed atIdeas AdoptedTheory confirmed.Biot was working under the commission of the French governmentGermanyPhysicsMale17561827
University of Cambridge, WIkipedia
Galileo Galilei“The Earth is not the centre of the solar system – the Sun is”
Physical Science
1616521835219271na78imprisonedFound 'vehemently suspect of heresy' by a Catholic Inquisition. Placed under house arrest. All works suppressed..Found 'vehemently suspect of heresy' by a Catholic Inquisition in 1633, and placed under house arrest with the publication of all of his works suppressed.House arrest / suppression of writingIdeas AdoptedModel of solar system confirmed.Formal apology by Pope John Paul II in 2000ItalyPhysicsMale15641642
Wikipedia, The Crime of Galileo
RobertGoddard“Spaceships can be powered by liquid-fuelled rockets”
Physical Science
19092719696087na63ridiculedOpenly mocked by the NYTimes in 1920. Became secretive & protective.Openly mocked by the NY Times in 1920, became increasingly secretive and protective"Only lacks the knowledge ladled out daily in high schools"Ideas AdoptedLaunch of Apollo 11 in 1969.USAPhysicsMale18821945
NY Times, Wikipedia
GeorgOhm“Electrical current, voltage & resistance are related”
Physical Science
18273818522563265discreditedColdly received. Forced to resign his university post.Coldly received at the time, took approx. 20 years to be fully recognised. Ohm was forced to resign his post at the Jesuit College of CologneForced to resignRecognitionAcademic role at Munich University.BavariaPhysicsMale17891854
American Journal of Physics, University of St Andrews, Wikipedia
“Protons & neutrons are made up of even smaller particles called quarks”
Physical Science
19642719811744--rejectedInitially rejected for publication. He wanted to call the new particles "aces" but was ignored.Article on the new theory was initially rejected for publication, his choice of name (aces) was ignoredRejected articles, missed out on Nobel PrizePrizeMacArthur Prize Fellowship - 1981.Idea was proposed at the same time as Murray Gell-Mann in 1964, who received the Nobel Prize in 1968USAPhysicsMale1937-
CERN, Wikipedia, Discovery of Cosmic Fractals
SvanteArrhenius“Salt solutions can conduct electricity”
Physical Science
188526190318442468rejectedAwarded a fourth class university degree, upgraded to a third after oral defence.Awarded a fourth class university degree, upgraded to a third after oral defence.Dissertation rejectedNobel PrizeFor Chemistry - 1903.Served on the Nobel Committee, helped set up the Institute and PrizesSweden
Physics / Chemistry
Wikipedia, Nobel Prize, Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences
NikolaTesla electrical inventions & technologiesEngineering18842819435987na87rejectedPossibly exploited by Thomas Edison. Died penniless.When he came to the USA in 1884, he was employed by Thomas Edison, who underpaid him and allegedly exploited him. Despite his fame and success, as well as his role in the development of the radio, he died penniless and in debt in a New York hotel. His work on wireless energy transfer was suppressed or underfunded. In later life he became seen as an eccentric: almost an archetypal mad scientist.Exploited and undermined, 'mad scientist'Recognition
Regarded as one of the greatest inventors of all time.
Serbia / USA
Physics / Engineering
Male18561943Wikipedia, PBS
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