Audacity, Part 5: Rejection and Ridicule

From Science:

FingerPointing_Comstock_160 Almost all important breakthroughs encounter resistance from other scientists, who have a tendency — justifiable for the most part — to defend the status quo. Some insights are resisted with such intensity that it may take decades before they're widely accepted among scientists. For some, such as HIV, heliocentrism, and evolution, pockets of resistance remain decades or centuries after the war is won.

It follows that if you're determined to take on audacious scientific projects, you need to be ready for the fallout. Scientists committed to incremental advances may work for decades without attracting any enmity. But as soon as your data show that you might be on to something game-changing, be prepared for a new level — and type — of challenge. Are you ready to have the top scientists in your field criticizing your work in journals and dissing you at meetings? Because history shows that the deeper your idea cuts into the heart of a field, the more your peers are likely to challenge you. Human nature being what it is, what ought to be reasoned discussion may turn personal, even nasty.

More here.