Perhaps the only thing that saves science from invalid conventional wisdom that becomes effectively permanent is the presence of mavericks in every generation—people who keep challenging convention and thinking up new ideas for the sheer hell of it or from an innate contrariness.

Geophysicist David Raup, University of Chicago, “New Ideas Are ‘Guilty Until Proved Innocent’,” (October 20, 1986)

I think it’s absolutely crazy to take the technology we have and think you can do an intelligent experiment on a human. I can guarantee you it won’t be successful.

Virologist Richard Mulligan, Whitehead Institute for Biomedical Research, as quoted in "Controversy Surrounds Gene Therapy Effort," (January 23, 1989)

The first news reports that I saw—and it was on TV—came out something like this: sheep cloning yesterday, monkeys today, and people tomorrow.

Animal scientist Robert Foote, Cornell University, as...

We need to wait to see the role for ES cells in the technology. There are things that stem cells taken from adults won’t and can’t do, and many can talk the talk but not walk the walk. I would hate to see the research not supported until we can see which types of stem cells work in which tissues.

Stem cell pioneer John Gearhart, as quoted in “A Paradigm Shift in Stem Cell Research?” (March 6, 2000)

Have Congress and those agencies that disburse research funds been affected by the public outcry and mass hysteria over the problems posed by AIDS? We fear that they have, and that we and thousands of our colleagues whose interests lie outside of AIDS research are their unwitting victims.

Ohio State psychiatrists Steven Dilsaver & Jeffrey Coffman, “Are We Spending Too Much Money on AIDS Research?” (July 11, 1988)

These quotes, from past issues of The Scientist, includes each person’s institutional affiliation at that time. Send us timely and interesting quotes, along with context, to

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