Censorship in Science

This is a list of some of the scientists who have been ostracized or ridiculed because the experimental results they reported didn’t fit with current scientific paradigms. Some of them have been vindicated. One subsequently won a Nobel prize. Others will be vindicated in the future.

Some of these were eventually published in mainstream journals; others had to settle for the tainted status of journals set up in parallel to mainstream scientific publishing.

This list contains just some of the cases with which I am personally acquainted. How many more are there whose work never sees the light of day? How many more have been discouraged, and re-directed their research toward more conventional subjects?

(Image by National Coalition Against Censorship)

I learned quantum mechanics from Julian Schwinger, whose distinguished career, including a Nobel prize, made him above reproach. But he discovered the limits of what the physics journals would let him talk about when he sought to publish a theory paper about cold fusion. Of this experience, he wrote,

“The pressure for conformity is enormous. I have experienced it in editors’ rejection of submitted papers, based on venomous criticism of anonymous referees. The replacement of impartial reviewing by censorship will be the death of science.”


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