Kea, whose actual name is Marni D. Shepheard, is a New Zealand physicist and blogger. Her blog, Arcadian Functor was really interesting and educational, and has morphed into Arcadian Omegafunctor, via blogs with intermediate names.
Kea works on the intersection of higher category theory and particle physics, which is niche mathematics combined with niche physics, and as a result has been out of a job for a long time. Marni’s a survivor though (a famous and celebrated survivor, who, together with Sonja Rendell, survived a mountaineering mishap which would have killed the vast majority of us) and she’s been publishing on viXra and continuing to do physics with no funding and often in total abject poverty. It appears to be taking its toll.
I met Marni in New Zealand in 2006 at a Geometrization conference in New Zealand, attended by many celebrated mathematicians and physicists. My impression was of a competent and original physicist. But her work isn’t really valued as far as I can tell. It’s people like Kea who really need and deserve patrons in the old sense of the word, so that they can carry out original and non-mainstream research. If I had a million pounds, I would surely fund Marni’s research. If you’re reading this and you have a million pounds, or if you know somebody with a million pounds, or you run a physics department and want an original outside-the-box professor, I think that to save Kea would be a good thing to do.