Some of his biographers have claimed that Michael Faraday died of a broken heart because his idea of an invisible field of influence was rejected as idiocy by his scientific peers.
If you look at the history of science you can ask have there been people who were outsiders in the past who are now accepted today. That raises an issue about what it means to be an insider or an outsider.
The most important task we have as any generation does is to raise the next generation, and to pass on the tools for living as sane people to the next generation.
I personally think that the biggest challenge we face as a society is to find ways to focus on parenting and families. I think we are losing the technologies of social bonding. We are losing the technologies of raising children. We are all so busy. We spend so much time at work. We’re increasingly spending more time at work. And part of the reason we have to spend more time at work is because the economic structures of our society are becoming more and more difficult.
The purpose of physics is to tell us the story about our world and where we as human beings fit in a wider cosmological scheme. That is why outsider physics, like folk art, works as good imaginative brain teasing.
Outsider science is the scientific parallel of what is often called folk art, or outsider art. It’s an interesting thing that folk art has now become very popular and there are whole magazines devoted to it and galleries and collectors, but in the early 20th century it was very controversial.
I don’t think God can or should be the mascot for physics.
One of the things that has been going on in contemporary physics for the last really 15 or 20 years is that physicists seem to be in some sense trying to present an alternative to God. We all know Stephen Hawking’s famous line from the end of A Brief History of Time that when we know this theory of everything, when we find this cosmic blueprint, we will know the mind of God.
Margaret Wertheim is a science writer with degrees in physics and mathematics. She has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and the Guardian, and is the author of Pythagoras' Trousers, a history of physics and religion, The Pearly Gates of Cyberspace, and most recently, Physics on the Fringe. In her pioneering work in new methods of science communication, she founded the nonprofit Institute For Figuring, through which she organized the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, a touring exhibition at the intersection of science and art. The IFF's Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef project is perhaps the biggest art/science community project in the world. More than 5000 people from New York and London, to Riga and Cape Town, have actively contributed pieces to Crochet Reef exhibitions. As of mid-2011, more than 3 million people had seen these shows.