This is a curiosity of mine that I'm hoping someone can answer. Currently, I'm about to enter a University as a chem major due to the lack of a physics major (will still probably take a physics minor). I've always been interested in physics, but I'm afraid that as a career I would end up homeless and without an actual job and not being able to study something that I'm interested in. My question is, how feasible is it that a person will make any significant contributions to physics if they aren't pursuing it academically, getting a degree, and finishing graduate school. I haven't ran across any examples of some random guy who studied theoretical physics in his basement while working at Mcdonalds and revolutionized science. I feel drawn to physics and math, as if I have some duty to contribute something that could change the playing field or our views of the Universe. But I'm fully aware that almost EVERYONE feels this same exact way and the odds of actually delivering a theory like Einstein are laughable. What do you believe is the end-point for a hobby in physics? As in, the point where you can no longer learn due to lack of resources or lab equipment, lack of motivation, or pure inability to grasp the material without the proper academics?