Following on from my last post in which I revealed that, despite driving an electric car, I’m a man made climate change denier, there were  comments. Itay wrote:

Are you serious? So you’re defying the major consensus among 95% of all scientists? Based on what?

Why yes, I am. Here’s a story from my past to explain why this is not a problem for me.

When I presented my PhD work at an international conference I had in the audience four elderly and distinguished doyens of the particular field I worked in and dozens of their acolytes.

My work (and that of my relatively young professor boss and co-student mathematician) essentially overturned a 20 year consensus of mathematical equations. These equations, taken by all as THE way to predict behaviour of a specific class of liquids, actually bore the names of some of those in the room.

I presented my 4 years of work and my entire thesis in around 10 minutes leaving 10 minutes for questions.

What do you think happened in the room when I basically told 100 distinguished scientists, some of them 3 times my age, that everything they’d worked on for 20 years was wrong?

I was eviscerated for the first 5 minutes. My professor had not flown to that conference with me. I took 5 minutes of them ripping me apart on mathematical grounds. I was not fit to answer as my speciality was the computational solving of the equations not their mathematical derivation. I was intellectually bloodied and bruised.

Then, the only person in the room who was a fan of my boss (and had actually taught him) stood up. Happily he was also the only person in the entire room or field to have won a Nobel prize for Physics. He backed me to the hilt and answered a number of questions for me.

I left academic science shortly after I received my PhD but I know that our team’s work went on to fundamentally change the way all simulation in that field is carried out. The 99% consensus that existed up to that point was rendered utterly worthless.