Best of AoA: Age of Autism Awards 2008 Galileo Award: Dr. Andrew Wakefield
Posted Aug 30 2009 12:00am
We first ran this post on 12/31/08.
From the Roman to the Wakefield Inquisition
By Mark Blaxill
As the year draws to a close, all of us at the Age of Autism are very pleased to honor Dr. Andrew Wakefield. As we’ve reported here many times during the past year, Dr. Wakefield has been the subject of a remarkable and unprecedented campaign to discredit his work and character, most notably in a show trial that is still underway in London, in hearings of the General Medical Council. In the face of extraordinary attempts to silence him, Wakefield has stood up to these attacks with grace and determination and has continued his research and clinical work on behalf of children and families suffering from autism. That makes him our first Age of Autism Galileo Award recipient.
Like many of our awards this year, this wasn’t a difficult decision. In fact, this may be one of those unusual cases where the recipient of an award in some ways outshines its namesake. To understand why that might be so, you need to understand a bit more about why we chose to name the award after the Italian scientist Galileo, what he represents to the history of science and how his experience compares with Wakefield’s.