Friday, October 17, 2014

Howard Florey : a dominant Alpha Male ... fiercely defending the banal and conventional ideas of Normal Science !

An irony there : the fearsome Howard Florey stands revealed as an intellectual milquetoast , behind his public persona as verbal and physical monster terrifying the calm corridors of 1930s British academic science.

By contrast, to fellow scientists the 1930s Henry Dawson was seen as a submissive and an Omega male , but intellectually his personal ideas created great unease among those same scientists , in almost an Alpha manner.

Howard Florey gauged his very public and very blunt opinions extremely carefully.

He was always - always - on the cutting edge of medical progress - never ever before that edge and never ever behind it.

He distilled the commonplace ideas of the scientifically powerful and then spat them back at them as bluntly and loudly as he could.

"Oh, what a roaring colonial rebel that Florey is - but his new ideas make perfect sense to me" said his flattered superiors about this artful sycophant.

But when the meek and mild Dawson mumbled his shocking personal ideas, his superiors shifted uneasily in their seats and dismissed him as a good ('sound') man in the relative backwater of arthritis studies - but wildly off base in his wide claims about the fundamental importance of microbial variance.

So the wartime clash between Florey and Dawson - over penicillin - was bound to lack verbal and physical fireworks , with no efforts by Florey to get into a fist fight with Dawson as he had done with others in the past.

The fight was all intellectual - all about Dawson's Paradigm Science surmounting Florey's Normal Science - and here the Alpha Male lost completely ....

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