Although I realise I'm in danger of sounding like a pub quiz or the Saturday edition of The Guardian, I just had to share this nugget of information. Did you know that James Joyce's pen name was Gordon Brown? He used it as a token of respect for Giordano Bruno.
Born in 16th century Naples, Bruno was a monk who left the monastery to travel and philosophise about the nature of the universe (apparently he came to England in 1580 and may have met Shakespeare). Like Copernicus and Galileo, he was in danger from the Inquisition, but unlike them he refused to moderate his views or keep quiet. After eight years in prison, he was tortured and executed. When he was sentenced to death for declaring that the earth could not be the centre of the solar system, he said:
"Perhaps you who pronounce my sentence are in greater fear than I who receive it."