Inigo Jones – The weather prophet

Canberra was in the grip of a heatwave – the longest in its recorded history. After two weeks of hot weather, the temperature topped the century once more, as 800 visitors swarmed into town for the 1939 meeting of the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science (otherwise known as ANZAAS). All accommodation was booked; delegates were billeted to homes in Canberra and Queanbeyan, while some of the more adventurous took to camping, creating ‘a miniature scientists’ settlement’ on the banks of the Molonglo River. As well as the heat, visitors grappled with the city’s unusual layout. The Canberra Times reported, ‘even members of the geography and astronomical sections lost their bearings’.

The following day, 11 January 1939, delegates gathered at Telopea Park School for the opening of the congress. As the temperature soared again to a record 108.5°, the Canberra Times observed that ‘most interest of a scientific character centred [on] a courageous prophecy by Mr Inigo Jones the famous Queensland weather forecaster’. Jones predicted an early end to the broiling conditions. ‘The heat wave’, he explained, ‘was cyclical, occurring at 35 year intervals’. There had been similar spells in the 1867-68 season and again, 35 years later, in 1902-3. Therefore the current heat wave, Jones claimed confidently, ‘was following expected lines’. As the death toll mounted and the threat of bushfire loomed, everyone hoped that he was right.

The ANZAAS meeting brought together the nation’s scientific elite, as well as a number of eminent visitors – including HG Wells. But amidst this jostle of intellectual worthies, Inigo Jones was, according to the Canberra Times, ‘one of the outstanding figures’. Jones was a determined battler whose ‘fight for recognition as a long range forecaster’ had begun in the early 1920s. Although he had received some support from the Queensland government, the newspaper noted that commonwealth authorities had been ‘stubbornly turning deaf ears to his claims’. However, it seemed that this attitude might finally be changing, for the federal government had recently announced the formation of a special committee to investigate Jones’s methods.

With the details of this committee still to be finalised, the ANZAAS meeting offered Jones a timely platform from which to espouse the benefits of his system. ‘I am getting along with the paper for the Congress and trust to make a good job of it’, Jones wrote to David Rivett in December 1938, ‘perhaps some of the committee of enquiry may hear it read’. His paper, entitled ‘Meteorology as a branch of astronomy’, surveyed international research into the use of astronomical cycles for long range weather forecasting. As Jones explained, the idea that our weather might be determined by celestial events was ‘by no means new’.

The appearance of spots on the surface of the sun had long been the source of conjecture, particularly when it was recognised, around the middle of the nineteenth century, that the number of sunspots increases and decreases on a regular cycle of around 11 years. Given that the sun dominates our experience of weather, might not this sunspot cycle set in motion regular changes in the Earth’s climate? In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, many scientists and enthusiastic amateurs embarked on the hunt for climatic cycles, believing that if such patterns could be found, then it might at last be possible to forecast the weather not just months, but perhaps even years ahead.

‘After fifty years’ study’ Inigo Jones was convinced that he had discovered the ‘key to the puzzle’. The sunspot cycle, he explained, was determined by the movements of the outer planets – Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune, and Uranus. This critical insight enabled him to derive a series of cycles, of varying length and importance, that could be used to develop long-range forecasts. ‘I am convinced... that the sunspot period is due to the action of Jupiter first and the other planets later’, he concluded his address, ‘and just as Pythagorus and Hipparchus, and later Copernicus, grasped the truth but not the whole truth, so may this work yet need its Kepler to place the coping stone of completion upon it’. On that modest note, Queensland’s Copernicus commended his paper to the further study of the assembled scientists.

Discussion followed amongst members of the ‘Astronomy, Mathematics, and Physics’ section of ANZAAS. ‘We have worked out all the cycles in England’, commented Sir George Simpson, the Director of the British Meteorological Bureau, ‘but they only give you an explanation of about 1 per cent of the weather variations’. Nonetheless, he advised Jones to continue his observations in the hope of finding some mathematical relation from which ‘reliable deductions’ could be made. Speaking ‘as one prophet to a brother prophet’, Professor VA Bailey similarly urged Jones to make predictions that were open to scientific verification.

The mood changed, however, when Edward Kidson, the New Zealand government meteorologist, took the floor. Detailed criticism of Jones’s paper ‘would be merely a waste of time’, he asserted. Indeed, he insisted that Jones himself had ‘no clear mental picture’ of the mechanisms he was describing. Kidson was in no mind to indulge the fancies of the elderly Queenslander, and moved that the section express an opinion that the paper ‘fell far below the standard which should be expected in a communication to such a gathering of scientists’. Discussion was quashed, and Jones withdrew, disappointed.

This ‘harsh and ill-mannered’ treatment outraged The Land newspaper, one of Jones’s most steadfast supporters. ‘It was a clear indication’, the newspaper thundered, ‘of just what Mr Jones can expect at the hands of those scientists who believe that because a system is new, or not universally accepted, it lacks merit or is not even worthy of investigation’. It warned the government to ensure that such ‘biased critics’ were not appointed to the committee that was to review Jones’s system. Country Life lambasted ‘so-called scientists’ whose intolerance made the newspaper ‘inclined to despair of “homo sapiens”’. But ‘the joke is on them’, the article concluded, for while Inigo Jones’s efforts at long-range forecasting had won him the admiration of ordinary farmers, ‘the official academicised meteorologists of the world cannot accurately forecast the weather a day ahead’.

The ANZAAS Congress marked a critical moment in Jones’s career, as he waited for the review committee to pass judgement on his system. But the Congress also highlighted the dramatic divergence in opinions surrounding the weather prophet himself. For some Inigo Jones was a neglected visionary, to others nothing more than a crank. While now he is generally cast as an amusing sidelight in the development of Australian meteorology, he is still remembered by many as a great Queensland scientist, and his forecasts continue to attract attention – particularly in times of drought. As we grapple still with the unpredictability of our climate, with the difficulties of seasonal forecasting, it seems worthwhile to reconsider the life and work of a man who was believed to hold the answer to our uncertainties. This is not a complete biography of Inigo Jones. Instead it is an attempt to trace some of the events , influences, and relationships that culminated in the review of his system in 1939. The focus is on the way Jones and his quest were perceived – by meteorologists, by scientists, by supporters, and, of course, by himself.

The man and his system
‘From pioneer settler to pioneer scientist or the other way round’

In April 1952, Inigo Jones regaled the Historical Society of Queensland with recollections drawn from his seventy-seven years in the colony and state. He was a farmer who had made the acquaintance of governors, archbishops, business leaders and politicians. He was a man of limited education who had worked to enrich the cultural life of his community through the Historical Society, the Astronomical Society, the Town Planning Association and the Authors and Artists Association. He had lobbied for a dam on the Stanley River. He had advocated the construction of a ‘Queensland Hall of Fame’ as part of Brisbane’s own Acropolis atop Spring Hill. He had rescued the Creek Street Fig Tree from development, and resisted attempts to relocate the Boer War memorial. But, nearing eighty years of age, his ‘main fight’ was ‘still raging’.

From a ‘pioneer settler to pioneer scientist’, Jones’s ‘discoveries of the real nature of the universe’ had lead him into a ‘forbidden field’ where ‘heavy clashes’ were inevitable. ‘I thought I saw the light’, he explained, ‘and offered it to my confreres, but as usual only a few responded; the others would have none of me and I paid the price of a Forerunner’. He imagined himself as Louis Pasteur facing the contempt of medical authorities – ‘Who is this little country doctor to presume to teach us?’. Who was he, this ‘country cockie’ who claimed to have penetrated the mysteries of the weather? Who was Inigo Jones?

Inigo Owen Jones was not yet two years old when he arrived in Brisbane with his parents in December 1874. His father, Owen, was a civil engineer who found work in Brisbane, Maryborough, and the goldfields of Gympie, before retiring to ‘seek in a country life that peace which the world of the city could not give’. Owen’s ‘earthly paradise’ was discovered in the Glasshouse Mountains – a property he named ‘Crohamhurst’ after an estate near his former home in Surrey.

Amongst his father’s friends in Brisbane, young Inigo made the acquaintance of a tall, wiry, red-haired meteorologist with the habit of dressing ‘as if he had robbed the proverbial scarecrow’. This man, Clement Wragge, was to have ‘a very great influence’ on Jones’s life. Energetic, eccentric, innovative and aggravating, Clement Wragge’s career ranged from unsettled to stormy. Already recognised by the meteorological community for the ‘almost superhuman’ feat of climbing Ben Nevis every day for five months to make observations, Wragge had moved to Australia in 1883 in search of further conquests. In 1887 he took up the post of Queensland government meteorologist, and set about developing his network of observers – amongst them, young Inigo Jones.

‘He had that gift which distinguishes all geniuses of being able to assess the mental powers of his contacts almost instantly’, explained Jones, ‘and when I first met him as a lad of fourteen he seemed at once to sense a future observer’. Wragge supplied his protégé with a set of meteorological instruments, which Jones used to record the weather, first in Brisbane, and later at Crohamhurst. For more than sixty-five years Jones continued to compile his observations, making him, he mused, ‘probably the doyen of Australian observers’.

Wragge took it upon himself to chart the direction of Inigo’s further education. Rather than completing his time at Brisbane Grammar and proceeding to university, Wragge argued that the young man’s interest in meteorology would be better served if he came to work with him. And so in 1888, Inigo Jones joined the staff of the Queensland weather office, where Wragge’s intense devotion to his science made him a ‘martinet for precise and careful work’. Under his ‘training and supervision’, Jones recalled, ‘no one did anything unwelcome, except by an absolute accident’.

In 1890, the German-born MLA Theodore Unmack took control of the Queensland Postmaster-General’s department, and with it the weather office. Unmack became ‘convinced of the vast importance of seasonal forecasts’ to Queensland, and asked Wragge to investigate. According to Jones, he also drew Wragge’s attention to the recently published work of Austrian scientist Eduard Bruckner, who claimed to have discovered a 35 year cycle in the climatic records of Europe. Although Wragge was initially sceptical, he began to investigate the possibility of using the ‘Bruckner cycle’ as the basis for long-range weather forecasting, combining it with the well-known sunspot cycle of just over eleven years. This early work left its impression on Wragge’s young apprentice. When, in 1892, Jones left the weather office to join his family at Crohamhurst, he packed up his instruments and left for the bush ‘armed with a knowledge of the plan which Mr Wragge had for the solution of the problem of seasonal forecasting’.

But the fuse burned slowly. For the next thirty years Jones lived ‘the usual routine of land pioneers’ – ‘hard work, long hours, strength and health and iron muscles and accidents and blows and falls with horses and cattle’. His observations continued, but scientific interests yielded to the practicalities of rural life. And yet, as Jones would later suggest, this was not time wasted. Wragge had introduced him to the possibility of long-range forecasting, however, it was through his own experience on the land that he ‘saw and felt the need of it’. The ‘practical experience’ of ‘what the weather really meant to people engaged in the primary industries’, gave his education ‘the conclusive environmental touch’ – it prepared him for what was to come. The labours and hardships of life at Crohamhurst had, Jones reflected, ‘a special meaning and a sacred message for me’.

‘It needs no argument’, Jones wrote in 1935, ‘to convince anyone that in a country of primary industry like Australia and which is subject to such vicissitudes of rainfall, there can hardly be a more important matter than a foreknowledge of the general trend of the seasons’. But for Inigo Jones, it seemed, the quest for long-range forecasting was also a matter of personal destiny. Whenever he recounted his own history, Jones took pains to trace the confluence of heredity and environment, of chance and training, that all seemed to point him to the mysteries of the weather.

‘I suppose that the spirit of scientific enquiry has always been in my blood’, Jones mused, ‘since on both my father’s and mother’s sides I am descended from long lines of philosophers, astronomers, engineers and mathematicians’. Another ‘important hereditary leaning’ was an ‘inherent love of the country’ passed down through ‘long lines of landed proprietors’. It was this combination, Jones supposed, ‘of the feelings of a countryman and a scientific mind’ that drew him so strongly to the question of seasonal forecasting. Similarly, it was Wragge’s tutelage combined with his experience as a pioneer settler that together shaped his life. ‘[T]hese two phases’, he wrote, ‘were apparently part of the decrees of destiny and among the things that are beyond our comprehension or control’.

Jones observed a ‘foreshadowing’ of his future in his earliest days as an infant in Surrey. Excursions into the countryside took his family to the original Crohamhurst, as well as to Hurstmonceux Castle, which would eventually house the Royal Greenwich Observatory. ‘Later I was to become a correspondent of that Observatory’, Jones noted, ‘and receive its publications as an important part of my own Observatory Library’. Another family outing him took him to the site of the ‘Gipsy Parliament’, where gipsies from all over Europe were gathered. ‘I often think that my unorthodoxy may have come from the unconscious contact of that meeting’, Jones pondered, ‘On the other hand it may simply be that there are strains of blood behind me drawn from men who have fought for liberty and against oppression and such men often take their lives in their hands when they know that the right is at stake’.

Nature, ‘the Grand Old Nurse’, also played its part, placing ‘many notable phenomena’ in the budding scientist’s path. ‘My earliest recollections are of weather’, Jones observed. But the event that seemed to confirm his destiny was his father’s purchase of their own ‘Crohamhurst’, near Peachester in the Glasshouse Mountains. Crohamhurst plays a critical role in Jones’s accounts of his long-range forecasting system. It was, he argued, ‘situated in one of the most remarkable climatic situations in the world’, showing an ‘extremely sensitive reaction to sunspot effects’. Crohamhurst was thus an ideal location for a ‘national observatory’ to study seasonal forecasting. This was surely more than a ‘lucky accident’, Jones insisted, ‘we can only believe that the discovery [of Crohamhurst] was the result of a guidance beyond our control, or our ability to comprehend’. ‘Lead to it by circumstances that almost savour of the supernatural’, he concluded, ‘Crohamhurst itself has been a wonderful and almost uncanny factor in the research’.

Evidence of Crohamhurst’s unique qualities came less than six months after Jones moved on to the land. On 2 February 1893, he observed the Australian record rainfall – 35.714 inches in twenty four hours. ‘Very curiously’, Jones’s mentor, Clement Wragge, had observed the record rainfall for Brisbane just three weeks after he took up his duties in Queensland. Was this merely a coincidence?

Clement Wragge was a theosophist, believing that all in nature was connected in the playing out some eternal plan. Wragge’s timely rainfall record, Jones suggested, ‘might be taken as a signal of approbation from the mystic powers in whose activities he so very enthusiastically believed’. Jones’s own religious leanings were more conventional, but he seemed to have been infected by Wragge’s enthusiasm for a infinite, interconnected universe, operating according to some greater design. There were no accidents, no mere coincidences. ‘He held the view that we are here under the control of powers and beings utterly beyond our conception’, Jones explained of his teacher, ‘and he also firmly believed that of our mental activities nothing is ever lost’. Perhaps teacher and pupil were bound together in their destiny. ‘[I]t seems in this connection a very strange yet curious fact’, Jones added, ‘that it was soon after his death, that I, his favourite pupil, began to actively prosecute the studies that were begun during my first years with him’. Wragge died in December 1922. The following year Inigo Jones made his first tentative forecast.

Whatever cosmic forces were conspiring to set Jones upon his predestined path, it was a book by the American geographer Ellsworth Huntington that inspired his final assault upon the problem of long-range weather forecasting. In 1923, Jones used his own observations and the Bruckner cycle to forecast an end to the current dry period. His success encouraged him to continue his study, aided by a copy of Huntington’s Earth and Sun sent to him by a friend. In his book, Huntington had masterfully gathered a wide range of evidence to argue that solar variation was crucial to an understanding of climatic changes on earth. Jones was particularly struck by Huntington’s report of an experiment carried out by the Norwegian physicist Kristian Birkeland, who was able to reproduce the observed behaviour of sunspots by rotating a charged metal sphere within a magnetic field. This experiment, together with the oft noted similarity between the orbital period of Jupiter and the average length of the sunspot cycle, provided Jones with the solution that enabled him at last to ‘complete the work of my late illustrious chief’.

Like the sphere in Birkeland’s experiment, Jones supposed that the sun was enveloped by an enormous electro-magnetic field, many times larger that our solar system. This field was maintained by vast streams of energy flowing between the sun and surrounding stars. It was like a ‘great electro-magnetic machine’, balanced and eternal. ‘As fast as it gives out its tremendous stores of energy’, Jones explained, the sun ‘is recharged by means of similar emanations of corpuscular matter from all the other stars’. Poetically speaking, he mused, ‘Light is the blood of the cosmos’.

Variations in the sun’s activity, as demonstrated by the sunspot cycle, were the result of disruptions within this field. Jones was convinced that Jupiter was the main culprit. It seemed reasonable to suspect that the magnetic field of this massive planet would deflect some of the streams of interstellar energy away from the sun. This effect, Jones further surmised, might reach its peak when Jupiter crossed the path of the Sun’s own motion through space – known as the apex of the sun’s way. He tested his hypothesis and found not only was there ‘a distinct tendency’ for sunspot minima to occur when Jupiter was at this point in its orbit, but also that ‘on every occasion’ these dates corresponded with droughts in Eastern Australia.

‘Here at one stroke was found what was being looked for’, he proclaimed, ‘a possible datum point for the sunspot periods, and also a means of predicting in general terms the droughts that afflict our great primary industries’. Discovered by ‘simply applying the great principle of Copernicus’, this ‘datum point’ provided the foundation upon which Jones would elaborate his obsessions. ‘[I]f I had drawn attention to this alone’, he proudly asserted, ‘my work would have been worthy of the highest consideration’.

But, of course, droughts were not all eleven years apart, and they varied in intensity and duration. If Jupiter alone was affecting the sun then forecasting would be a simple business indeed. Many hopeful weather prophets had tried and failed to develop a forecasting system based on a single cycle. Jones argued that the magnetic fields of the other outer planets, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, exerted a similar, though smaller effect. ‘Each great planetary magnetic field sets up a cycle of events of its own’, he explained, ‘so that there are at least four main cycles always in continuous operation, each one slightly affecting the progress of the others and creating fresh combinations’. The complexity of this system met the objections of those who pointed out that no two years appeared to be exactly the same. When you combined the orbits of the four planets, Jones noted, ‘an exact repeat was not to be expected within historic experience let alone that of any living man’.

In any case, there were further complications. Jones believed that some droughts were the result of a lag effect involving the melting of Antarctic ice. Changes in solar activity, he argued, took time to accumulate in the polar region, delaying the release of cold water and drift ice into the Pacific Ocean currents. This cooler water gradually circulated along the western coast of South America then back to Australia, causing a secondary series of droughts well after the original sunspot minima. What was needed to predict these secondary effects, Jones insisted, was the establishment of permanent meteorological stations in the Antarctic, as well as the systematic study of sea temperatures around Australia.

But as he continued to develop his system Jones downplayed the role of the Antarctic, focusing instead on the rather more distant influence of the Milky Way. Discoveries in the emerging field of radioastronomy in the 1940s, were taken as further evidence of the vast, eternal streams of energy that flow between the stars. ‘This energy which we see as light and feel as heat has also many other forms’, he observed, ‘such as chemical and electro-magnetic rays, and… the long waves of radio’. One of the strongest sources of radio emissions was found to be the constellation of Sagittarius, positioned at Jones’s ‘datum point’ – the apex of the sun’s way. But what about the other stars of the Milky Way, surely these too must have some effect? Jones set out the positions and characteristics of the constellations along the ecliptic to suggest how other planetary positions might exert their own particular influence on the sun. The ‘real mechanism of the major planets’, he argued, ‘is to shield the sun from the direct emanations of the various intense parts of the Galaxy, especially the region of Sagittarius’. Moreover, as the planets ‘shut off…the particular emanations association with that portion of the Galaxy, …so a special character is prevented from reaching our system at the time’.

By taking account of the specific effects of each planetary position and their combinations, Jones hoped to mop up any remaining anomalies in the climatic data. The influence of the Milky Way added another level of complexity to his system, but it also underlined the unity of the cosmos – ‘an automatic system’ which ‘goes on and on for ever without change and without fear of failure’. ‘I do not think it possible’, he added, ‘to overestimate the magnitude, importance, or the sublime beauty of the mechanism in contemplation of which the human mind stands appalled’. The problem was how to interpret this glorious, cosmic machinery to meet the earthly needs of farmers seeking a reliable knowledge of drought. How could you use it to make forecasts?

‘In reality it is not a matter of forecasting or prophesying or anything of that nature’, Jones explained, ‘What is done is simply to construct the graph on the of the basis of definite physical reactions, and then to announce the interpretation’. Combining the orbital periods of the planets, Jones derived five main cyclical periods of 35, 59, 71, 84, and 165 years. To make a forecast he would graph climatic data from each period and simply compare the graphs. For example, to make a forecast for 1940, he would line up graphs from 1905, 1881, 1869, 1856, and 1775 (assuming, of course, that reliable data existed). Where all graphs indicated a rainy or dry period, a recurrence in the current year seemed likely. If the graphs disagreed, then it was necessary to judge the relative importance of the cycles, to determine what Jones described as the ‘character’ of the season. ‘This interpretation must of necessity often contain modifying phrases when the whole series of cycle[s] do not agree’, Jones emphasised, but this was ‘merely a full statement of all the possibilities, and… not in the nature of a safety clause’.

More ‘modifying clauses’ were inevitably appended to Jones’s forecasts as the state of the sun was monitored for short-term effects. While the motions of the planets controlled the sun’s overall activity, there remained some variability in the actual size and location of sunspots. This specific character of the sunspots at any time was the ‘final determinant’ of the manner in which the cyclical pattern was expressed. If predicted rains failed to eventuate, Jones explained, ‘then reference is made to the state of the southern sunspots to see if the failure is due to their unfavourable disposition, and this is then watched and its changes reported through the press daily’. Only southern sunspots were relevant as Jones claimed to have shown that sunspots to the south of the sun’s equator mainly affected weather in the earth’s southern hemisphere, and vice versa. Moreover, his observations had led him to the conclusion that sunspots had their greatest effect on the weather when they were near the edge of the sun. As the sun itself rotated with a period of 27 days, careful observation could yield useful short term predictions. Immediate sunspot effects were thus ‘not entirely erratic’, and ‘long years of comparative observation’ would no doubt remove any remaining uncertainty.

Subtle variations in local conditions further added to the complexity of Jones’s forecasts. Rather than a single climatic cycle covering a broad region, Jones insisted that there were an innumerable series of local cycles that had to be studied and understood separately. ‘There is very little correlation between one region or locality and another’, he argued, thus ‘each locality as it has its own climate so has its own sequence’.

While Jones was in no doubt that he had created ‘a new conception of the solar system altogether’, his forecasts remained comparatively modest in their claims. He lacked the brash egotism of his mentor, Clement Wragge, who fired intercolonial anger by issuing weather maps for the whole of Australasia from the ‘Chief Weather Bureau, Brisbane’. Jones readily admitted that his system was still a work in progress. The only way to develop it was through ‘a forward constructional program’ of observation and prediction. Each forecast offered an opportunity to test and refine his hypothesis.

‘At the present stage’, Jones noted in 1934, ‘we are patiently testing out position after position as it is presented and when this is done each event is either to be included in the immediate series or set aside for reference at a later date’. Jones’s main difficulty was in deciding to which cycle a particular weather event belonged. If for example a dry period predicted by the 35 year cycle failed to eventuate, then it was possible that the event was not a product of this cycle at all, but an expression of an earlier 59 year cycle. This possibility then had to be flagged for future testing. The regressions might continue through to the 165 year cycle and, perhaps, beyond. And so, predictions and observations had to be ‘carefully watched and recorded, and the reasons of each departure discovered, if possible’. Only then could all weather events be finally ‘sorted out into their cyclical positions’.

Of course, according to this method a forecast could never be wholly wrong. A failed prediction was merely an opportunity to fine-tune the system. If the vagaries of sunspot behaviour failed to explain away an errant rainstorm, it could simply be ‘set aside’ until its true home could be found. The other important consequence of Jones’s forecasting system was that if the research was to be successful, it had to be continued for a very, very long time. Jones was fond of quoting the opinion of Queensland University’s professor of mathematics that a full test of his theory could not be made without three hundred years worth of data. It was obvious, he told the 1939 ANZAAS congress, that the problem required ‘an infinity of further work’.

Once the records were complete, once each drought or flooding rain had been allocated its proper place amidst the complex panoply of cycles, the long-held dream of generations would at last be close at hand. ‘Then the so-called chances of the weather would be eliminated, loss of crops and cattle would be prevented’, the weather prophet proclaimed, ‘as it will be recognised that the weather has no element of caprice in it, and is bound like all else in nature by laws laid down from everlasting’. But the work had to be kept alive. Jones’s unwavering dedication to the problem of long-range forecasting was sustained by the glimpses of destiny peeking though his own life history. He had no choice, it was his life. He may have imagined himself a neglected prophet, or scientific revolutionary, but what was most important was not that he should feted for his successes – it was the work, the work had to be kept alive.