32

Giovanni Schiaparelli ... He wrote in 1877 about his telescopic observations of Mars. He described some features using the Italian word canali. English translation would be channels. But the term was mistranslated as English canals, which was taken to mean they were artificial constructions. This led to much controversy about whether Mars was inhabited!


27

I would say that Henry Cavendish (1731–1810) fits this description. A hugely rich man (at the time of his death he was the largest depositor in the Bank of England) he was also a loner in a huge scale. According to Wikipedia: He could only speak to one person at a time, and only if the person were known to him and male. He conversed little, always dressed ...


26

Galileo not only believed but taught and actively practiced astrology, like Ptolemy and Kepler before him. His primary source might have been Porphyry’s commentary on Ptolemy's Tetrabiblos. In particular, he constructed and interpreted horoscopes, including ones for himself and his daughters that are extant. His discovery of the moons of Jupiter was followed ...


17

In Soviet Union, in 1948 genetics was officially banned. Researchers in genetics had either co confess publicly that they were doing pseudo-science and switch to another activity, or were dismissed. Several were imprisoned and even killed (Isaak Agol, Solomon Levit, Grigorii Levitskii, Georgii Karpechenko and Georgii Nadson were executed. Nikolai Vavilov ...


16

The main reason for "publish or perish" is not securing priority. (Newton did not publish much, but was very much concerned about priority. Some such people exist even now). The reason is that "research" is required nowadays from professors at the universities. Their salary and even employment depends on the "research" they produce, and the simplest way by ...


15

Yes, the quote is essentially authentic. This is from a typeset version "Récoltes et Semailles", specfically from "2.2 L’importance d’être seul." (To find the document online should be possible without much trouble, I do not link it here, as I am not aware of a stable location.) Par la suite, j’ai eu l’occasion, dans ce monde des mathématiciens qui m’...


15

I would say that no area of mathematics has ever been completely abandoned. The areas go in and out of fashion, but nothing seems to be completely abandoned. For example, approximately in 1940's most mainstream mathematical journals stopped to consider papers on elementary geometry. But the area is not abandoned in any way. First of all, there are "non-...


13

By this standard why single out Galileo? Euclid "plagiarized" Elements, there isn't a single theorem in it that can be reliably attributed to him, and there are entire books that can be attributed to early Pythagoreans, Eudoxus or Theaetetus. In the whole 13 books he does not credit a single person by name. Descartes "plagiarized" analytic geometry, after ...


13

See Heytesbury and the Physical Sciences and Nicole Oresme for detailed information about the so-called Oxford Calculators and their contribution (mainly) to mathematics. The issue is not so clearly assessed by modern historiography: There has been some discussion of the meaning of the work of Heytesbury and the other Calculators for the development of the ...


13

There are lots of references to cranks in A Budget of Paradoxes, by Augustus de Morgan (1806–1871), who calls them “paradoxers”. There, he writes […] I say something on my personal knowledge of the class of discoverers that square the circle, upset Newton, etc. I suspect I know more of the English class than any man in Britain. I never ...


13

The most commonly mentioned name in this context is Nicola Tesla, he is even featured as such in some fiction (e.g. Tomorrowland). He was brilliant, eccentric, kept to himself, and had some wacky ideas, especially later in life, including persistent search for the ether, see Was Nikola Tesla right about his ether theory? Conspiracy theories around his late ...


13

This probably refers to the "argument" of the Florentine astronomer Francesco Sizzi against the validity of Galileo's discovery of the moons of Jupiter. His "argument" was apparently quoted from the introduction to Francis Bacon, A Selection of His Works (where it illustrates the context of the times), and thereby entered the internet, ...


12

Check out these mathematicians: A father, and two sons, all of whom co-authored papers in various combinations. David Borwein, father Peter Borwein, son Jonathan Borwein, son Peter's memorial to his brother Jonahan, in which he speaks of writing papers together with his brother.


11

Here is MacLane's sentence about the lectures in its entirety: "Although the leading mathematician, David Hilbert, had retired and came only once a week to lecture on matters of general intellectual interest - for instance on the overall importance of the discovery of the Americas - many young stars had appeared". It is unclear if he actually attended a ...


11

The "we" in the scientific papers does not mean the "royal we". This "we" means "you and I", that is "the author and the reader". For example, in proving something they say "let us consider"... and then "we conclude". A teacher addressing the class says: "we write", "we draw", inviting her students to do the same. Some people write instead "I consider..." "...


10

Elie and Henri Cartan (father and son) published a paper together, in 1931 (Les transformations des domaines cerclés bornés).


10

André Bloch is an extreme case: He murdered three of his family members. Being institutionalised for the rest of his life, he wrote influential mathematical papers (on complex analysis). Quote from Wikipedia: On 17 November 1917, while on convalescent leave from service in World War I, Bloch killed his brother Georges, and his aunt and uncle. Several ...


10

The nickname appears to be a creation of the New Math movement, and spread from the math education literature. The notation itself in its modern form can be traced back to Lefschetz's Algebraic Topology (1942), and variants appear already in Principia (1910) and von Neumann's Zur Einführung der transfiniten Zahlen (1923). See Who first discovered the ...


9

The modern conflict is not so much between physics and philosophy, as between physics and "half" of philosophy, the continental philosophy. Scientists, and physicists in particular, see culturally relativistic attitudes of continental philosophy as leading to ignorance and outright hostility to science. Sokal and Bricmont's Fashionable Nonsense gives an idea ...


9

Arthur Leonard Rubin co-authored at least two papers with his mother, Jean Estelle Hirsh Rubin, the first one below when he was 13 years old. Arthur L. Rubin and Jean E. Rubin, Extended operations and relations on the class of ordinal numbers, Fundamenta Mathematicae 69 #2 (1969), 227-242. Paul Howard, Arthur L. Rubin, and Jean E. Rubin, Kinna-Wagner ...


9

Besides the other excellent answers, maybe Georg Cantor could fit your description, with some serious caveats. Although the details of his life have been extremely romanticized (e.g. the widespread story that he was driven crazy "after seeing infinity"), he did suffer from chronic depression in the last years of his life, to the point to which he was ...


9

The Galileo's astrology activities are well summarized in Conifold's answer. But, in relevance to the question at hand (did he believe it worked) I'd like to make a couple of points: The fact that Galileo was making horoscopes of people of power and wealth doesn't really mean he believed that they actually meant anything. He could have been motivated by ...


8

Geometry I'm not sure you can really call geometry abandoned, but it certainly was much more popular a few hundred years ago (discovery of spherical geometry and hyperbolical geometry, parallel axiom debate) and a few thousand years ago (the old Greeks developed a lot of geometry). Nowadays, there are very few papers about just plain Euclidean geometry (or ...


8

Your friend told you an anecdote, possibly in jest, because the truth seems comically twisted beyond recognition. Historical events dating back to 1930-1960s did influence the development of Soviet science in ways more favorable to physics than to biology. Much has changed since then, including cultural attitudes and government funding, but those events did ...


8

It seems that this attempt made an impression, when one needs to make the point Indiana Pi itself is typically invoked. NMSR Reports modeled their 1998 April Fool's story on it: "NASA engineers and mathematicians in this high-tech city are stunned and infuriated after the Alabama state legislature narrowly passed a law yesterday [March 30, 1998] ...


8

I almost hesitate to offer this answer, because I don't want to suggest in any way that its subject was really a 'mad scientist' at all. But he did show a few of the other characteristics suggested in the question, so his name is arguably not out of place here. For a time in the 1960s something of a loner in his research, even a maverick, he carried out ...


8

While this might not be a popular view, I think that Newton would fit this criterion. He was extremely isolated and socially alone. He was surrounded by all sorts of crazy ideas and spent more time on decoding the secret messages from the Bible that he thought could be revealed only to him and on alchemy than he did on actual physics. He did work obsessively,...


8

I think Paul Dirac would have certain characteristics which fit this category. Often called as "theorist's theorist", Dirac was science's archetypal loners,taciturn and devoid of empathy. He has an unhappy childhood, but doesn't mention it for 50 years; learns to speak French, German and Russian, but becomes famous for his long silences; embarks on the wrong ...


7

Surely it was not peculiar to England. Saint Augustine wrote "The good Christian should beware of mathematicians, and all those who make empty prophecies. The danger already exists that the mathematicians have made a covenant with the devil to darken the spirit and to confine man in the bonds of Hell" (De Genesi ad Litteram, Book II, xviii, 37, according to ...


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