Claude Bernard...on giants and pygmies

In the experimental sciences, great men are never the promoters of absolute and immutable truths... Great men may be compared to torches shining at long intervals, to guide the advance of science. They light up their time, either by discovering unexpected and fertile phenomena which open up new paths and reveal unknown horizons, or by generalizing acquired scientific facts and disclosing truths which their pedecessors had not perceived...Great men have been compared to giants upon whose shoulders pygmies have climbed, who nevertheless see further than they. This simply means tha science makes progress subsequent to the appearance of great men, and precisely because of their influence. The result is that their successors know many more scientific facts than the great men themselves had in their day. But a great man is, none the less, still a great man, that is to say, a giant.

-L'introduction a l etude de la medecine experimentale, 1863