It's interesting how academics construct their own mythology. If Newton, Einstein, and Galileo can be branded as outcasts, who were working on obscure research, then maybe that can justify all of the waste in academia on research that benefits no one other than the professor who receives tenure for it.
Academia, at the very least in the US, is fundamentally broken, and articles like this are very discouraging because they show that academics just don't get it. The incentives within academia do not encourage much new research of the sort that the article praises, and even Peter Higgs claims that if he were an academic today, he wouldn't be prolific enough to get tenure. The sense of entitlement in science research is very strong, that somehow scientists are better people if they study the most esoteric, non-applicable field possible, and that the rest of us should fund their work, because they're making the world a better place by getting tenure, citing the other people in their field, and making their papers intentionally difficult to read.