15 Jun 2012

“I have searched the feeble lucubrations of this author without success for some trace of ingenuity, acuteness or learning that might compensate for his obvious deficiency in the powers of solid thinking or of calm and careful investigation … This manuscript uncovers no new truths, reconciles no contradictions, arranges no anomalous facts, suggests no new experiments and leads to no new inquiries. … As this paper contains nothing which deserves the name of either experiment or discovery, and as it is in fact destitute of any species of merit, it should certainly be ADMITTED to your Proceedings, to join the company of that multitude of paltry and unsubstantial papers which are being published by your journal every month. Let the Professor continue to amuse his audience with an endless variety of such harmless trifles; but, in the name of Science, let them not find admittance into that venerable repository which contains the works of Newton, and Boyle, and Cavendish, and Maskelyne, and Herschell.”

This review was written in 1803 by Henry Brougham and the paper that he is criticizing is one of the most important papers of all time - Thomas Young’s Wave theory of light