Lord Rees of Ludlow, Astronomer Royal, is an atheist, so I believe.
So it came as a shock to fellow scientists when he accepted the Templeton Prize in London for contributions to life's spiritual dimension.
Not only were they shocked, they cried boo-hoo. Had they cried boo-hoo-hoo, they would have had the same number of 0's in their woeful whimpers as Lord Rees received in his accompanying £1 million cheque.
What must be reassuring for lesser mortals than me is that such eminent scientists are prone to throwing their toys out of their prams.
In particular, I refer to Professor Sir Harry Kroto and Sir Richard Roberts, both Fellows of the Royal Society.
Lord Rees' decision to accept the prize can be interpreted in several different ways. That these two scientists' minds are not open to those possibilities, regardless of what they consider to be the probability, suggests to me that they would never be worthy winners of the prize themselves.
Maybe that's what has got their goat.
Personally, I'm prepared to entertain other theories, such is the receptive nature of my mind.
As they say, like a parachute, it works best when open.
Having come back down to earth with one almighty thump (I assume that the Almighty still controls gravity) Kroto and Roberts have now gone public with their spat.
They don't like the fact that there is another viewpoint that might test their theories that little bit further.
Maybe Lord Rees agrees with them but believes the money could be used to great effect in countering those opposing views.
Maybe he has a distant relative in Outer Mongolia who needs life-saving surgery.
Maybe he decided that the future welfare of his family matters most and who can argue with that?
Whatever his reasons, as Astronomer Royal investigating phenomena such as dark matter, I don't doubt that Lord Rees has enough grey matter to rise above the scurrilous remarks that are swilling around in this cosmic soup.
Meanwhile, for all their pre-eminence and pomposity, Kroto and Roberts have most emphatically been laid low by Lord Rees of Ludlow.