Burbidge's scientific credentials include the 1959 Warner Prize (awarded annually to a hot young astronomer) and the 1999 Bruce Medal (an astronomical lifetime achievement award),
and he has published extensively on quasars and the physics of galaxies. But because he's not on the big-bang wagon, he is refused funding and the chance to publish on his controversial theory. On the rare occasions he's asked to speak at a conference, zealots shout him down while the rest of the audience snickers. He endures constant insult from young upstarts such as Sean Carroll of the University of Chicago, whose blog belittles big-bang deniers: "They just aren't, for the most part, very smart." Burbidge takes refuge
in his native British stoicism.
"It's just the road to conformity," he says. "They're all happier thinking alike."