I just started reading Johann Hari's latest article about Noam Chomsky, and I was welcomed to this interesting fact:
Noam Chomsky is one of the most hysterically abused figures in the world today. Even his critics have to concede that his work inventing the field of linguistics -- and so beginning to decode the structure of how language is formed in the human brain -- makes him one of the most important intellectuals alive.
I agree that Chomsky is an important intellectual figure, and his massive contributions to linguistics are well-documented, but he did not invent the field. Some might say reinvented... Although, I'm not sure how favourably history will view Chomsky's shadow having loomed over linguistics for such a long time. My own opinion, for what it's worth, is that he's largely been a positive influence, even if I find myself disagreeing with a lot of his major ideas.