Science, it's important to remind ourselves, is performed by people; and people are chronically fallible. All scientists fail, and not always honorably. The question Ben Lillie, master of ceremonies at the always-excellent Story Collider, poses, is this: What do you do when our heroes misstep, misspeak, or are otherwise undone?

"I don't have good answers to those questions," says Lillie, but this story by science journalist Ed Yong, about his meeting with famed British naturalist David Attenborough, "is a great way to start thinking about it":


For another angle on this subject, see Maggie Koerth-Baker's must-read piece on the pitfalls of entrusting our hearts and minds to heroes, in which she anatomizes her thoughts on Richard Feynman, a "legendary scientist" with a "frankly horrible perspective on interacting with women."