RE: [asa] science martyrs

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Sun Mar 01 2009 - 10:14:22 EST

I am sure there were many people who did not get Nobel prizes but were well deserving of it. I can think of Raymond Damadian ( ) , also a technician who worked at Berkeley for Owen Chamberlain who discovered the antiproton. Perhaps one can also include Rosalind Franklin whose x-rays data lead to the discovery of DNA. There were not martyred but it may have been a living death to survive such injustice.
From: [] On Behalf Of Gregory Arago []
Sent: Sunday, March 01, 2009 8:54 AM
To: 'ASA list'; Marcio Pie
Subject: Re: [asa] science martyrs

Hello Marcio,

Not sure how many 'martyrs' you'll find in North America in the cause of 'science' but let me mention just two who lived and died in my current environment.

1) Nikolai I. Vavilov (1887-1943) - botanist, geneticist, the mentor and bane of T. Lysenko, centres of origin, founder of 'the law of homologous series in variation'

I am conducting research at the Institute dedicated to his name in St. Petersburg today, which includes the section on Evolutionary Biology and History of Science and Technology. The Vavilov seed bank is located about 10 minutes drive from my apartment.

2) Nikolai D. Kondratiev (1892-1938) - economist, known for business cycles or 'Kondratiev waves'

One could argue that Kondratiev was targetted for his political, rather than his scientific views. However, when it comes to human-social sciences, these things (politics and science) are much more integrated and intricately woven together.

One could add Immanuel Velikovsky (martyred or sacrificed by the 'scientific community'), but he was not physically killed as the above two; rather 'persecution' would be the appropriate term.

Hope it helps in your quest.


--- On Sun, 3/1/09, Marcio Pie <> wrote:
From: Marcio Pie <>
Subject: [asa] science martyrs
To: "'ASA list'" <>
Received: Sunday, March 1, 2009, 4:21 PM

Hi there,

I got a simple question: what are the well-established cases of science martyrs? By that I mean cases of scientists (or, more appropriately, natural philosophers) that experienced persecution *because* of their scientific beliefs.

There is the commonly cited but mistaken case of Galileo, which is part of scientific pop culture, but has been regarded as a myth by people like Ron Numbers. Also, I just learned that Giordano Bruno was not condemned because of his scientific views, as commonly stated, but rather due to his theological views on the trinity.

So, is there any example of someone that was really persecuted (or martyrized) because of his/her scientific views?


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Received on Sun Mar 1 10:15:26 2009

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