When our heroes – like Richard Feynman – turn out to be less than perfect, it’s an open question as to whether we should write off their work as well

Another week, another social media tar-and-feathering of a prominent male scientist.

A few weeks ago was physicist Richard Feynman, every scientist’s beloved old uncle: he of the charm, the bongo-playing, the practical jokes, the breathtaking clarity of thought. I can still remember him standing up in front of the US Congress on television as an elderly man, razor sharp as he demonstrated, using ice water, what would have happened to the O-rings within the doomed shuttle Columbia when they came into contact with the coldness of outer space. I read most of his books as a child, and still embrace his philosophy about why understanding nature’s beauty enhances, rather than detracts from, its wonder.

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Read More Scientists are human too, so why are we shocked when they fall short?

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