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Do you have to be an expert make an original contribution

  1. Apr 2, 2008 #1
    In a world so diversified and specialised, where it is almost impossible to be an expert in a fraction of a field, how can any one make a contribution which might be critical of ideas in a number of different fields.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 2, 2008 #2
    Actually it is easy to criticize what others have theorized, that hard thing is to come up with something better. :smile:
     
  4. Apr 2, 2008 #3
    That is actually what I meant. How to dare criticize in order to replace it with something new and be taken seriously as an alternative to the expert opinion.
     
  5. Apr 3, 2008 #4

    Demystifier

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    If you have a new theory, there are 4 ways how your theory can be taken seriously by experts community:
    1. You are an already famous (or at least very respectable) expert.
    2. An already famous (or at least very respectable) expert is signed as a coauthor of your theory.
    3. At least one already famous (or at least very respectable) expert took your work seriously and expressed it clearly in at least one of his papers.
    4. Your theory is very good.
    Neither of these conditions can guarantee that your theory will indeed be taken seriously, but if neither of these conditions is satisfied, then your chances are rather weak.
     
  6. Apr 3, 2008 #5

    matthyaouw

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    There's always chance for anyone to discover something new- take those recent examples of people discovering meteor craters with Google Earth. If a person wishes to take their discovery further though, they will need a good degree of familiarity with the field, otherwise they won't be able to put the discovery in its proper scientific context and critically assess it next to other research.
     
  7. Apr 3, 2008 #6
    By those people bringing proof of those idea's and back them with logical finding's then it wouldnt be a problem... about how they would make a contribution in some way.

    But you also asked "where" is it almost impossible to be an expert in a fraction of a field.

    Being an expert in a field is only possible if other precieve you as an expert in that section of that field or the whole thing.

    The answer is Almost every where... its just about the same amount of vauge that was displayed within the question it's self :) philosophy would most likly have the highest % rate
     
  8. Apr 3, 2008 #7
    Bearing in mind the above caveats, it's not just easy it's considered de rigueur, well in scientific circles at least. Survival of the fittest.

    Criticise away. What are you criticising by the way?
     
    Last edited: Apr 3, 2008
  9. Apr 3, 2008 #8
  10. Apr 3, 2008 #9
  11. Apr 3, 2008 #10

    Evo

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    Criticizing is meaningless unless you can show you are correct. A friend of mine found an error in a calculation in some math/physics book by a notable author and e-mailed the author. The guy was rather embarrassed but thankful. So, if you're right, you're right.
     
  12. Apr 4, 2008 #11
    Originally I posted this question in the physics section hoping to get the views of the peers who have crossed the line and are now looking from the other side of the glass. It has been moved so many times that I can't even find the thread any more let alone who is reading or replying to it, not that their opinion is any less appriciated. My problem is that I am in a catch 22 situation. I have been away from accademic field so long (rasing a family) that I am now considered an amature (no published work and no accademic resume). My kids have now left the nest and I am trying finish what I started almost 30 years ago. I have formulated a complete and logical theory with ample scientific proofs and experimental verification. It is however, substantially different from the main stream physics, both in content and language. I feel in order to translate it into the modern language, I would have to learn a lot of things which would be redundant, once I have turned everyone to my way. In addition, the lesser experts do not dare put their name on my work for fear of losing their position. The proper experts do not have the time nor the inclination to even give me a second of their time, for more or less the same reasons, in addition to the undeclared belief that If it was right we would have thought of it. If we can't or didn't it proves that it is wrong. In short I can not get even reviewed let alone get published. There are other reasons this lack of response, least of which is perhaps as our friend mentions is the action of the crackpots which perhaps I am one. There are also borderline bias.
     
  13. Apr 4, 2008 #12

    Evo

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    Are you able, without doubt, to prove your ideas correct? If you are, e-mail the scientists involved. If you truly are correct, I am sure they will listen. If all you have is an opinion but no proof, don't expect much.
     
  14. Apr 4, 2008 #13
    I've seen that happen on this forum with André. They did listen to him even if they did dismiss his theories as flawed. There's a global warming thread somewhere where he gives a link to a dialogue with a scientist about a particular web debate, that got very technical and kind of carried on by other means off the site.

    So yes given the media types available these days its much easier to criticise anyone.
     
  15. Apr 4, 2008 #14

    Astronuc

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    As others have mentioned, one has to have some competence and expertise in order to be able to make a valid criticism of whatever is being criticized. If one identifies an error in something, a bit of math or a scientific theory, then one simply brings it to the attention of someone(s) in that field then present the evidence of why the math or theory is wrong (the contradiction) and then a proposed correction.

    As Evo mentioned, if you're right, the merits of one's case stand on their own.

    Some folks who criticize and an accepted (and tested) theory, likely don't understand it and in the case of crackpots, propose something erroneous.
     
  16. Apr 4, 2008 #15

    Astronuc

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    One can click on one's profile and select find posts.

    If you work is 'substantially' different from established theory, then it is a matter of presenting the evidence to a knowledgeable group, such as we have here at PF.

    When one mentions, "translate it into the modern language", I have to wonder about that? Math and physics have evolved with a history or legacy, and the language has evolved with knew ideas and understanding.

    If one's work contradicts observation, then obviously there is a flaw in one's work.

    The universe is what it is, and the challege before us is to understand it, and perhaps appreciate it.
     
  17. Apr 4, 2008 #16
    I thank you for your comments. Let me explain my problem a little more without lecturing you about my theory, which I believe is against the rules here.
    There a number of very important experiments in 20th century. One of them being the Michelson and Morley experiment which essentially led to the special theory of relativity. The modern unification theories predict a violation of the postulates of STR. The above mentioned important experiments, called violation tests of STR, are also interpreted as verification of STR, since they have all produced a null result. This further fuels the problem of unification. Faced with this difficulty, a lot of ingenious people have put forward a lot of ingenious theories with the appropriate mathematics which is unbelievable complicated, to an extent that no one knows what they actually mean physically. This trend by no means at an end and it is generally believed that either some new mathematics or some new observation (physical data) is needed (short of a miracle!).
    What I have found is that there is a pattern in all of those experiments, and I mean all not just some, by retracing the development of modern physics to its origin. The pattern is series erroneous assumptions. Based on these corrections, all of those experiments can be modified slightly to produce the expected positive result.
    Here is where the plot thickens. It is universally believed that a positive result of any of these experiment contradicts or violates the STR. Even though I have clearly proved that it does not, No one wants to read it. The same erroneous assumption have been carried over into GR and Quantum Mechanics, atomic physics and a vast part of physics, preventing a unified theory.
    Such is the scope of the theory, that leads almost every one, sometimes myself included, to think that it can not be possible, and it must almost certainly be a delusion. But the proof is in the underlying thread, or the pattern, which is undeniably there for all to theoretically see, and experimentally verify.
    I guess by now you are wondering what is this secret of life that you have discovered despite all the ingenious minds and experiments that have examined them. The final problem I have is the very simplicity of these erroneous assumptions, to a point that at first they perhaps appear almost trivial.
     
  18. Apr 5, 2008 #17
    That's not exactly an unusual area of thought. OK you don't read about new ideas too much except in the science mags, but just about every scientist thinks like you do. They just don't publish unless they can put their money where there mouth is, after all their professional reputation is on the line. All is not lost though, that's what the internet is for, or your colleagues. I doubt Bohr sat around all day in his own little world before he came up with the rather annoying Copenhagen Interpretation. That said if you really want to get anywhere, first try modelling it with the maths. Without anything more than an idea it's unlikely that people will listen. Of course that means you'll have to learn some advanced maths but that's physics.

    Wake up with a hypothesis, disprove it over breakfast, then you are ready to work.

    Anon (scientist)
     
  19. Apr 5, 2008 #18

    Vanadium 50

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    While it is possible for an amateur to make a contribution, it's probably not possible for a non-expert: to make a contribution, one needs to thoroughly understand the area of physics he or she is trying to improve.

    Also, you have to be right, and you have to present your argument in a way that will be accepted - which means scrupulously avoiding arguments made by crackpots and cranks.

    As I understand it, your claim is to have found an error - not an improved theory, not a more interesting and fruitful starting point or model - but an actual error. This error pervades almost all of physics and has gone undetected by everyone except you for over a century. If so, this would be unprecedented. I can't think of a single example anywhere in science - yes, models that have later shown to be incomplete have lasted that long, but I don't believe an actual error has lasted that long.

    If such a thing were true - you've found an error that a century of experts and Nobel prize winners didn't - any of your "lesser experts" (lesser than whom, anyway? You?) would have their careers made by being able to co-author a paper that shows this. Claiming they would lose their position if they did this flies in the face of how scientific reputations are made - and is the sort of argument advanced by crackpots.

    Furthermore, if you want to argue that a million man-years of physicists missed an error that you caught, it's vital to your argument that you not make any errors of your own in presentation. Michelson-Morley was not mentioned in the 1905 paper by Einstein, and there is some debate among historians of science as to how familiar Einstein was with the results. It's not true that unification necessarily requires a violation of relativity (and the one example we have so far, electroweak unification, does not), and when you suggest that modern theorists don't understand their own theories, again you are using an "argument" (in quotes because it's really not deserving of the name) that is also favored by crackpots.
     
  20. Apr 5, 2008 #19
    I think you forgot the unification of electricity and magnetism. They were discreet originally believe it or not. Just to be extraordinarily pedantic. :smile:
     
  21. Apr 5, 2008 #20

    Vanadium 50

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    As an example of what? As an error? I don't think so - I took pains to distinguish between an error and a better theory. Theories improve all the time. It's rare for an error to stick around for even a few years, much less a century,

    Or is this a unification example? This is the reverse of that - it's a case where SR is required to make the unification work.
     
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