“I much prefer the sharpest criticism of a single intelligent man to the thoughtless approval of the masses.” -Johannes Kepler
There are a lot of myths we have in our society about how the greatest of all scientific advances happened. We think about a lone genius, working outside the constraints of mainstream academia or mainstream thinking, working on something no one else works on. That hasn’t ever really been true, and yet there are actual lessons – valuable ones – to be learned from observing the greatest of all scientists throughout history.
The greatest breakthroughs can only happen in the context of what’s already been discovered, and in that sense, our scientific knowledge base and our best new theories are a reflection of the very human endeavor of science. When Newton claimed he was standing on the shoulders of giants, it may have been his most brilliant realization of all, and it’s never been more true today.