A Prophet in his Own Country

Rebecca Abrams discovers the history of a forgotten Aberdonian doctor who could – if anyone had listened to his ideas  – have saved the lives of countless women in childbirth over the following centuries.

What was it like for Copernicus to know that the earth moved round the sun when all around persisted in believing the opposite? Or for Galileo to prove Copernicus’s theory, only to have his work banned and to live out his life under house arrest? Greek mythology has Cassandra and Tiresius, the Old Testament is rich with seers and soothsayers to whom no-one will listen, but scientific prophets bear a heavier burden still, obliged to endure the agony of knowing not only that they are right, but that the reason people aren’t listening is that their discovery has simply been made too soon

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