If you were to come up with a new science theory....

  • Thread starter arul_k
  • Start date
  • #1
95
1
If you were to come up with a new science theory how would you present it? Especially if its based only on logic and experiment, no math (like Faraday) and your experiments were conducted at home.

Basically if one dosen't have the scientific credentials to be noticed what would one do?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
HallsofIvy
Science Advisor
Homework Helper
41,833
961
Whether you have "credentials" or not, you should write out your ideas clearly and submit them to a journal in whatever branch of science is appropriate (be warned- these journals do not pay for such articles and may ask for payment from you). The article will be given to an "expert" in the field to review and he/she will decide if it is appropriate for that journal. It might help you to contact a college professor or other expert in the field to go over your paper and set it into appropriate form as well as telling you if you really have something worth publishing (another warning- college professors are typically busy with their own lives and may refuse to do this. I assume the same is true for other "experts" but don't know for sure. In any case, you are asking for a favor so have no right to complain if they say no.)

And lets be perfectly realistic- if you do not have those "credentials" then you probably don't have the knowledge to even know whether what you are saying is new or even true- "credentials" are not just arbitrary honors!

Finally, a major difficulty with physics experiments (you say just "science" so I don't know if you are talking about physics or some other science) is that experiments on the "boundary of science" require a huge amount of energy. That's why confirmation of the very existence of the "Higgs Boson" required a two year wait for the CERN particle accelerator to be improved.
 
  • #3
35,150
11,397
And lets be perfectly realistic- if you do not have those "credentials" then you probably don't have the knowledge to even know whether what you are saying is new or even true- "credentials" are not just arbitrary honors!
To be even more realistic, here is a full list of important discoveries in science made by non-experts without contact to experts:


It is not completely impossible to start this list, but how likely is this? How much more likely is it to be one of the thousands that just did not understand science?
 
  • Like
Likes HomogenousCow and berkeman
  • #4
Dale
Mentor
Insights Author
2020 Award
30,695
7,285
Basically if one dosen't have the scientific credentials to be noticed what would one do?
You could always pay a predatory publisher an exorbitant fee to publish it to a small group of crackpots.
 
  • Like
Likes strangerep, artyb and edward
  • #5
russ_watters
Mentor
20,158
6,678
You could always pay a predatory publisher an exorbitant fee to publish it to a small group of crackpots.
I think I have a better idea, though it will take about 9 years...
 
  • #6
95
1
Thanks for your replies.

What credentials did Galileo, Newton, Faraday ect have to begin with? No one is born with credentials. My point is you can't start off by being acknowledged by the scientific community and then put forward your ideas.

I do agree that there is a remote possibility of someone coming up with something radically new, but its not impossible.
 
  • #7
95
1
You could always pay a predatory publisher an exorbitant fee to publish it to a small group of crackpots.
I think I have a better idea, though it will take about 9 years...
Do you mean to say that there are only "experts" and "crackpots" and no one else in between. Thats a rather narrow view!!
 
  • #8
e.bar.goum
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
951
390
Thanks for your replies.

What credentials did Galileo, Newton, Faraday ect have to begin with? No one is born with credentials. My point is you can't start off by being acknowledged by the scientific community and then put forward your ideas.

I do agree that there is a remote possibility of someone coming up with something radically new, but its not impossible.
In their early lives, Newton was at Trinity, Faraday was a scientific assistant to Davy and Galileo studied mathematics and natural philosophy. Not really outsiders to the scientific establishment (though Faraday was pretty close). And it's pretty telling that all of your examples died long before the twentieth century.

The truth is, the only real way to progress science is to deeply understand the status quo first. Or, to borrow a line from Newton - to stand on the shoulders of giants. These days, science is far too broad a field to be like Newton, Faraday or Galileo. You must be specialised. And the way to do that is to get a PhD. Doing a PhD isn't just for the credentials, it's also so you can deeply understand part of a field, enough so you can actually have a hope of contributing.
 
  • Like
Likes Evo, Astronuc, berkeman and 2 others
  • #9
russ_watters
Mentor
20,158
6,678
What credentials did Galileo, Newton, Faraday ect have to begin with?
Galileo and Newton invented science itself. There was no formal education to be had in something brand new. Farraday helped invent a new branch and died 150 years ago. Today, a lot is known and in order to expand what is known you have to know what is known. That's why, in modern times, no one without a full knowledge of their subject matter, achieved through formal schooling, has made a significant contribution to an established branch of science.
No one is born with credentials. My point is you can't start off by being acknowledged by the scientific community and then put forward your ideas.
The first one is right, the second one is wrong. You start off by getting the basic credential - an advanced degree - thus gaining entry to the scientific community. Then you put forward your ideas. Before that, you can't possibly even have a useful idea. I'm sorry if this is harsh, but it is a reality: We can guarantee without question that what you have come up with:
1. Has no value.
2. Has been thought of before.
I do agree that there is a remote possibility of someone coming up with something radically new, but its not impossible.
Perhaps in an "anything's possible" sort of way, but look at it like this: do you want to succeed? Then you should do the things required to give you the best possibility of success.
Do you mean to say that there are only "experts" and "crackpots" and no one else in between. Thats a rather narrow view!!
Narrow or not, it's the truth.
 
  • Like
Likes Evo
  • #10
Dale
Mentor
Insights Author
2020 Award
30,695
7,285
Do you mean to say that there are only "experts" and "crackpots" and no one else in between. Thats a rather narrow view!!
Out of the population of people developing new theories in physics there are crackpots, experts, and advanced students about to become experts. If you are not in one of the latter two categories then you are in the former.

I don't know which category you are in, but you should evaluate yourself realistically. Have you put in the years of work and study needed to learn the existing body of knowledge and data? If not, then why are you trying to take a shortcut and demand unearned recognition.


No one is born with credentials.
No one is born with the ability to develop a new theory of physics either. It is no coincidence that the process for building the credentials is the same as the process for building the necessary skills.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Likes russ_watters and mfb
  • #11
ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
Insights Author
35,847
4,670
Thanks for your replies.

What credentials did Galileo, Newton, Faraday ect have to begin with? No one is born with credentials.
Credentials are EARNED!

You develop a reputation by doing small level of work and then eventually, you will be acknowledged as an expert in certain areas. This is why we go to school, so that we learn something, and with the help of other experts, establish oneself in such a field.

My point is you can't start off by being acknowledged by the scientific community and then put forward your ideas.
That's putting the cart before the horse. You show a body of work FIRST, and THEN you get acknowledged by the scientific community, not the other way around!

I do agree that there is a remote possibility of someone coming up with something radically new, but its not impossible.
Show me the last time this has happened within the past 100 years in the field of physics.

It is not impossible for you to take a vase that has been broken into a million pieces, throw it onto the floor, and it reassemble itself into the original base. But would you plan your life on the possibility of that happening? Is this a rational expectation? Just because something isn't impossible doesn't mean it is likely to happen, and at some point, if the likelihood of it happening is so small, it is absurd to consider it a REALISTIC possibility.

Zz.
 
  • Like
Likes Evo, Astronuc, russ_watters and 1 other person
  • #12
Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
21,082
4,907
Do you mean to say that there are only "experts" and "crackpots" and no one else in between. Thats a rather narrow view!!
I agree with pretty much everything that's already been said about this comment, but I'll provide another point of view for your to consider.

People exist along a continuum, starting from essentially no knowledge of physics or science in general, and running all the way to undending everything about the specific field of science they're trained in. Formal education is by far the most effective way of moving along this continuum for most people, though I'm sure a few people manage to move pretty far along it purely through self-study.

A key thing to understand is that this continuum exists for everything. Whether you're a hairdresser, engineer, car mechanic, or a farrier there was a point where you knew next to nothing about the field and had to learn it prior to performing that job. In your training you move along the continuum from a complete newbie to (hopefully) an expert in that field. Many times this training takes place on-the-job, but it's training nonetheless.

Now, I'm sure you don't expect a random person who's had next to no experience or training at fixing cars to come up with some revolutionary new way of fixing cars, or someone who has little knowledge of mechanical engineering to design a complicated new bridge. The same thing happens in science. As you move along in your training, you become more and more experienced and more capable of contributing to science. Undergrad students can do basic experiments that were invented hundreds of years ago, so they aren't going to be contributing anything to developing a cutting edge theory based on those experiments. They've been done a million times and are very well understood. And that's really the key here. We already understand those experiments and the theory that describes them. As these students progress in their training and become Grad students and possibly get PHD's they gain experience and learn more about what we do and don't know and, importantly, why we know these things and where our understanding breaks down.

What credentials did Galileo, Newton, Faraday ect have to begin with? No one is born with credentials. My point is you can't start off by being acknowledged by the scientific community and then put forward your ideas.
Of course you can. Basic acknowledgement comes from completing your schooling in a field and shows that you (hopefully) understand the field well enough to make meaningful contributions to it.

I do agree that there is a remote possibility of someone coming up with something radically new, but its not impossible.
No one is arguing that it is impossible. The fact is the chances of someone without training coming up with a radical new theory is so utterly remote that it is completely pointless to even consider a theory from someone untrained in science. If I wanted to hear a fine sonnet, I'd find a poet, someone who'd studied poetry and had plenty of experience under their pen. I wouldn't go to every elementary school poetry contest in hopes that one of the youngsters had written a masterpiece.
 
  • Like
Likes Choppy, e.bar.goum and mfb
  • #13
Vanadium 50
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Education Advisor
26,159
9,545
If you were in the hospital, and someone came up to you with a couple of steak knives saying "No one is born with credentials. I'll show everybody that you don't have to go to medical school to be a surgeon!" what would your reaction be?
 
  • Like
Likes mheslep, Evo and mfb
  • #14
255
80
I'd think of Dr Benway

 
  • Like
Likes Drakkith
  • #15
677
319
If you were to come up with a new science theory how would you present it? Especially if its based only on logic and experiment, no math (like Faraday) and your experiments were conducted at home.

Basically if one dosen't have the scientific credentials to be noticed what would one do?
People are too busy to check the work of strangers. Maybe you have a relative or friend with credentials who can take a look at it and vouch for you. If not, bribery might work. You could pay a PhD to repeat it.

Or you could go straight to the people. There's some guy in Kauai who has a whole crackpot empire. But that takes a lot of energy and charisma. Real scientific theories are usually too boring for this route.
 
Last edited:
  • #16
Evo
Mentor
23,174
2,924
This thread has been answered repeatedly and the OP has chosen not to respond, closed.
 

Related Threads on If you were to come up with a new science theory....

  • Last Post
Replies
7
Views
2K
Replies
7
Views
2K
Replies
46
Views
6K
Replies
92
Views
21K
Replies
27
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
12
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
8
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
24
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
14
Views
3K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
Top