The phrase “scientific hooliganism” was first uttered by a man named John Ambrose Fleming in response to the interruption of an early radio demonstration put on by Guglielmo Marconi and himself. The year was 1903, and Marconi was to broadcast a signal from Poldhu, Cornwall to the Royal Institution in London, around 300 miles away, where it would be received by Fleming.

Shortly before receiving Marconi’s signal, Fleming’s equipment received another signal, from a man named Nevil Maskelyne, mocking them and the security of their system. Fleming later referred to Maskelyne’s intrusion as “scientific hooliganism”.