J. Marvin Herndon is a scientist from San Diego. He received a doctorate degree in Nuclear Chemistry from Texas A& M. He came up with the theory that there is a natural nuclear reactor at the Earth's core. The mostly iron core contains uranium which undergoes a natural nuclear fission. A natural nuclear reaction was discovered in 1972 at the Gambian Oklo Uranium mine in Africa, so it wouldn't be unprecedented. If right, his theory would explain why the Earth's magnetic field fluctuates, why many planets such as Jupiter produce more heat than they get from the Sun (the Earth is too close to call), and why volcanoes emit a certain helium isotope in a strange amount which happens to be the same ratio as nuclear reactors do.
Because of his unorthodox ideas, he was unable to attract research funding. He was forced to do menial labor like consulting work for mining companies and antique dealing in order to survive. Through it all, he struggled as an independent scientist and was able to published a few papers. Although shunned by mainstream science and most publishing opportunities. Despite this, he still has an audience in Europe. Worst of all, he was betrayed by his own children who choose to study for a career in his great enemy, science. This decision inflicts terrible pain and shame upon him and haunts him throughout his daily life.
"you can't make a living and do legitimate science; you have to 'howl with the wolves' or you don't survive. This is a sad testament to our times. There's something very wrong in American science."
-J. Marvin Herdon