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Are great scientists always heretics? - Dr Stuart Clark

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As readers of my novel, The Sensorium of God know, Isaac Newton was an arch heretic. Ahead of tonight’s BBC2 documentary about Isaac Newton, the BBC invited me to choose five ‘heretic’ scientists whose courage and determination I find inspiring:

“Great scientists change the way we view the world.



Doing that usually means smashing an old, entrenched idea - often making enemies in the process. Before being proven and accepted, a great theory can be subjected to harsh criticism and its proposer can be mocked, rejected, even vilified.

Sometimes a religious authority is on the attack, other times it's the scientist's colleagues - either way it takes special determination to stick to an idea others believe is clearly wrong.
The genius of the lucky ones is recognised in their lifetime but some are venerated only posthumously.

Here are five of my greatest scientific heretics. I find their courage inspiring. Some have become household names, while others still remain in relative obscurity. ...”

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