I am interested in scientists and mathematicians that were afraid to publish their findings during their lifetime, and to what degree such fears hinder scientific progress.
So far, I've identified three famous scientists that were afraid to publish their important findings:
- Nicolas Copernicus. He delayed the publication of his work on a heliocentric model of the solar system for fear of either astronomical objections, or objections based on religious grounds.
- Carl Friedrich Gauss. Though fear might not always have been the main reason for him to delay the publication of his work -- he often waited quite some time before he published anything. He was a perfectionist, so perhaps one might describe it as a fear for not publishing something that was up to his high standards.
- Dan Shechtman. He was afraid of
publishing his findings on quasicrystalspublishing alone, because he needed the expertise of his coauthors to explain his observations regarding quasicrystals. Moreover, he faced strong opposition from one of the most celebrated scientists of his time: Linus Pauling.
Some also believe Charles Darwin was afraid to publish his theory of evolution and avoided doing so for 20 years, but this has been refuted.
I am also aware of cases of scientists and mathematicians that were scorned for their ideas (Ludwig Boltzmann, Ignaz Semmelweis, Georg Cantor), or ignored (Gregor Mendel, George Zweig). Although these are interesting (albeit tragic) cases as well, for the purposes of this particular question I would like to restrict the examples to those that were afraid of publishing -- for whatever reason.
What other well-known scientists were afraid to publish their findings, and why?