Not all scientists are created equal. We are reminded of this right now as the Nobel Prize Committee is awarding Nobel Prizes to those few who push the boundaries of science — that ephemeral edge, dividing the know from the unknown. It is worth while to remember that many of those receiving that most coveted prize, have had to face various degrees of skepticism and derision throughout their careers — until their ideas are ultimately proven correct in the end.
Peter Higgs of the U.K. was awarded the Nobel Prize in physics a couple days ago. When he postulated the idea of a Boson particle (aka the “God particle”) in 1964 the journal he submitted it to rejected it. Later, before giving a talk at Harvard in 1966, a senior physicist, the late Sidney Coleman, told his class some idiot was coming to see them. “And you’re going to tear him to shreds.”
Nevertheless, the ‘modest-to-a-fault’ Higgs didn’t back down, and was vindicated by the CERN large hadron collider last year, when his postulated particle was conclusively proven to exist.
Many thought Watson and Crick were ridiculous for trying to elucidate the structure of DNA. Many continued to insist proteins were the “carriers” of genes. If the two young scientists hadn’t been confident and brash enough to shrug them off, the discovery of DNA might have been delayed for years.
Sometimes a price is to be paid for imagination.
Undeniably, Dr. Seyfried’s contention that cancer originates from defective metabolism defies the consensus of thought on the subject. But like many before him, time may show his ideas were not wrong — just early.
The subject is too important not to thoughtfully consider the ideas Seyfried puts forth in his book.
The book is an exhaustive and elegant compilation of evidence supporting the idea that cancer originates, and is driven, from damage to the mitochondria. The implications are so profound and far reaching — potentially changing the way oncologists treat cancer patients, all the way to new avenues of prevention. It is really a frame-shift in the way we view cancer — and it may ultimately prove to be an early road-map for the future of cancer research and understanding — jump-starting the so desperately needed progress in treatments that continue to fail cancer patients.
We owe Dr. Seyfried a debt of gratitude for his creativity, his imagination, and his evidence-based challenge to the current paradigm of thought. In the end, this is what has always, and will always, drive science and technology forward.