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“Crackpots” Who Were Right

Philip E. Gibbs


I’m going to run a series of posts at under the heading: “crackpots” who were right. It is surprising just how many times people have published ideas in science that were initially rejected by their peers simply because they went against the accepted wisdom of the time. These people submitted their work to journals only to have them repeatedly rejected with comments from the referees stating that the author simply could not be right. In all the cases I will mention, the idea has eventually been accepted, sometimes after many years and often only when another more influential scientist rediscovered it. Happily the original discoverers were not forgotten and are now recognised, but it is not just the matter of recognition that is of concern. The failure to evaluate the work correctly at the time has lead to delays in the progress of science that can last for decades.

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