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Book and Media Reviews
January 21, 2009

Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology

JAMA. 2009;301(3):333-334. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.973

The idea of The Scientist as Rebel, to use the title of Freeman Dyson's recent book, is gaining popularity. Dyson argues that scientific progress is fueled by scientists who reject the status quo in search of something deeper and more enlightening. Lynn Margulis proclaimed in a 2006 series of American Scientist essays that science is a “the rebel educator” that teaches students to reject authority and to think for themselves. The value of such thinking can be seen in Steve Lohr's book, Go To (2001), which attributes the software revolution to “Math Majors . . . Maverick Scientists and Iconoclasts.” Frank Sulloway's Born to Rebel (1996) argues that scientific rebellion is determined by birth order. And now comes Harman and Dietrich's Rebels, Mavericks, and Heretics in Biology.