Dear WM, You may be interested in the following thought-provoking passage commenting on the collegiality of some eminent historical scientists–Bruce Julian
"Unlike Fermat, Descartes gave the impression that he was often uninformed of what others had done before him; at least he only rarely mentioned the work of anybody else in his writings. And when he did, it was often in the most unpleasant manner one could imagine: at various times in his life he called his critics "two or three flies," "less than a rational animal," "a little dog," and "extremely contemptible." The actual works of others were often rejected in incredibly offensive language, e.g., as being fit only for use as "toilet paper" or, in the case of Fermat, as being "shit."–Paul J. Nahin"