Publishing a Theory: Tips for 16-Year-Old Physics Enthusiast

In summary, It is extremely unlikely that as a (nearly!) 16 year old with no training that you've come up with anything of import. You should make sure you've got something before you try to publish it. You should talk to someone at your local university (n.b. lots of people send physicists their "theories" by email. Don't spam people!) who works in a similar field, and then you should try to publish it by writing a paper and submitting it for peer-review. After peer-review, it is published.
  • #1
Ananay Wadehra
6
3
Recently, I was thinking about a publishing a theory and how to do it? I found that you can TRY to publish it in a magazine/journal IF they want to do it, but there are also specific options such as registered works.com where you can basically patent ( i don't know hat the correct word here is ) or just OWN that this is your theory under Intellectual property. I just wanted to first patent it or hold the whole right over it and also discuss it with several people. Currently I have written the whole theory and am working on the math ( I'll be turning 16 in 10 days , i.e. why is taking me time). SO, my final question , What should I do to publish it ? Where and How ?
p.s.- I am almost 16, Physics enthusiast, aim to become a Theoretical Physicist, did some research on my theory and didn't give it blatantly. My theory deals with Quantum Gravity. Please help me :-)
 
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  • #2
Ok, first, not to burst your enthusiasm, but it's extremely unlikely that as a (nearly!) 16 year old with no training that you've come up with anything of import. So, first, you should make sure you've got something. Physicists do this by talking to other physicists, long before they publish anything, and letting them pick it apart. You should talk to someone at your local university (n.b. lots of people send physicists their "theories" by email. Don't spam people!) who works in a similar field.

The way that you publish a theory is to publish a paper about it. There is no "patent" or the like for theories - the closest you have is to publish it first. To publish a paper, you need to first learn how write one. Again, this is where you get in contact with a professional physicist. You pick a journal, write it up according to their guidelines, and you submit it for peer-review. Again, this is where you need guidance from a professional physicist. After peer-review, it is published.

But really, first, you'd better be sure you have something, and frankly, if you managed to have "written the whole theory" without doing the mathematics at the same time, it's extremely unlikely that you do.
 
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  • #3
Ananay Wadehra said:
Currently I have written the whole theory and am working on the math

Just to emphasise what e.bar.goum said: If you do not have the math, you do not have the theory.

It must also be pointed out that there is a point to why physicists go through order of 10 years of university (including undergraduate and graduate studies). In order to be able to further the frontiers of physics, you need to know where those frontiers lie. For some reason, many (many) people believe that they can do theoretical physics as a hobby, but sadly this is simply not true. There may be a few very special individuals but they are still very aware of the state of the field. A whopping 100% of laymen who I have seen ask the question "I have a new theory, where can I publish it?" have had blatant errors in their theories, often intertwined with the notion that you can "own" a theory. If you have to ask this question, then you do not know where research is being published - research that is likely vital for the field and which you will be ignorant of in writing down your theory.
 
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  • #4
I realize the above may sound harsh, but I think it is important to hear it. Let me complement it with some advice if you are truly interested in theoretical physics: Lay your theory aside and go to study physics at university level. It is very likely that after a few years of university study, you will be able to spot the flaws in your theory on your own and you will also be at a better position for actually contributing to the advance of science.
 
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  • #5
Orodruin said:
I realize the above may sound harsh, but I think it is important to hear it. Let me complement it with some advice if you are truly interested in theoretical physics: Lay your theory aside and go to study physics at university level. It is very likely that after a few years of university study, you will be able to spot the flaws in your theory on your own and you will also be at a better position for actually contributing to the advance of science.

What Orodriun said, Ananay. I think it's really great that you're thinking so hard about theoretical physics, but man, physics is hard and complicated and requires so so so much knowledge to make any progress in. Keep your enthusiasm, and go learn what we already know!
 
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  • #6
Ananay Wadehra said:
My theory deals with Quantum Gravity.
It would also help us if you could tell what standard knowledge about quantum gravity do you already have. Can you tell us what are the most advanced books or scientific papers that you have been reading on the subject?
 
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  • #7
Thanks for the reply Orodruin and e.bar.goum . At first kinda reading, it was bit hard though. But I have realized that what you actually said is right. I hope to accomplish this a and follow what you said. Like you said, by knowing more I will automatically point out the flaws in my theory and imprve it. Till, thne I will keep it locked in a locker and ther are chances that this will come to haunt me when I have actually become a physic. hnaks for all your advice
 
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  • #8
Demystifier said:
It would also help us if you could tell what standard knowledge about quantum gravity do you already have. Can you tell us what are the most advanced books or scientific papers that you have been reading on the subject?
Currently gravity was generally understood in Einstein's General Relativity but I have introduced a quantum mechanical aspect of a hypothetical particle graviton and I have read most of the answers and current understanding of the world as in if the particle exists it is exchanged between two objects or like that but my model differs and might a fluke or just beginners enthusiasm.
 
  • #9
Ananay Wadehra said:
Currently gravity was generally understood in Einstein's General Relativity but I have introduced a quantum mechanical aspect of a hypothetical particle graviton and I have read most of the answers and current understanding of the world as in if the particle exists it is exchanged between two objects or like that but my model differs and might a fluke or just beginners enthusiasm.
Let me rephrase my question. What books on General Relativity have you been reading? (By "what book" I mean the name(s) of the author(s) and the book's title.) What books on quantum mechanics have you been reading?

Another check: Could you say immediately what is the meaning of the following equations?
$$g_{\mu\nu}(x) \neq \eta_{\mu\nu}$$
$$T^{\mu\nu}(x)=\frac{\delta S}{\delta g_{\mu\nu}(x)}$$
$$[x,p]=i\hbar$$
$$H\psi=-i\hbar\frac{\partial\psi}{\partial t}$$
In fact, one of the four equations above is wrong. Can you tell which one and why? (Hint: a g-dependent factor is missing in one of the equations.)
 
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  • #10
e.bar.goum said:
but man, physics is hard and complicated and requires so so so much knowledge to make any progress in

I spent 13 years in school studying physics: 2 in high school, 4 in college, and 7 in graduate school, ending up with a Ph.D. As time passed, I felt stupider and stupider (or maybe "more and more humble" would be a better way of putting it) because I realized more and more how much more there was to learn.
 
  • #11
By the way, one cannot "patent" an idea. One can copyright a paper or book but that only prevents people from copying the paper or a large section of the book itself without your permission. They can write about the idea in their own words.
 
  • #12
jtbell said:
I spent 13 years in school studying physics: 2 in high school, 4 in college, and 7 in graduate school, ending up with a Ph.D. As time passed, I felt stupider and stupider (or maybe "more and more humble" would be a better way of putting it) because I realized more and more how much more there was to learn.

That's exactly how I feel. I feel like the process of doing physics is mostly spent feeling incredibly stupid, with occasional joy when you figure something out. Naturally, then, it was "easy", and then you move on to feeling stupid about the next problem! :rolleyes:

(ETA: This might sound a lot like learning physics too, but it's not, because when you're learning physics all the problems that you face are (a) given to you, (b) nicely set out for you and (c) actually have a solution. )

HallsofIvy said:
By the way, one cannot "patent" an idea. One can copyright a paper or book but that only prevents people from copying the paper or a large section of the book itself without your permission. They can write about the idea in their own words.

And really, other people writing about your idea is what you actually want to happen! That's how science gets done, after all (and how papers get cited).
 
  • #13
HallsofIvy said:
By the way, one cannot "patent" an idea.
That's not quite true. To quote from http://www.wikihow.com/Patent-an-Idea
"You can patent your idea if it's a process, a machine, an article of manufacture, a composition of matter, or an improvement of any of these. Abstract ideas, natural phenomenon, and inventions deemed not useful are ineligible for patents."

So, for instance, if you have an idea how to quantize gravity, you cannot patent it. But if you have an idea how to use quantum gravity to build a time machine which can cheaply extract energy from the future and use it in the presence, thus solving the energy crisis of our current civilization, then yes, you can patent it.
 
  • #14
Demystifier said:
That's not quite true. To quote from http://www.wikihow.com/Patent-an-Idea
"You can patent your idea if it's a process, a machine, an article of manufacture, a composition of matter, or an improvement of any of these. Abstract ideas, natural phenomenon, and inventions deemed not useful are ineligible for patents."
Okay, but in each of those I would consider it the "process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or improvement of any of these", based on the idea, that you have built that you are patenting, not the idea.

So, for instance, if you have an idea how to quantize gravity, you cannot patent it. But if you have an idea how to use quantum gravity to build a time machine which can cheaply extract energy from the future and use it in the presence, thus solving the energy crisis of our current civilization, then yes, you can patent it.
And my understanding is that if you have an "idea how to use quantum gravity to build a time machine" but have not actually built such a machine, you cannot patent just the "idea".
 
  • #15
HallsofIvy said:
Okay, but in each of those I would consider it the "process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or improvement of any of these", based on the idea, that you have built that you are patenting, not the idea.

And my understanding is that if you have an "idea how to use quantum gravity to build a time machine" but have not actually built such a machine, you cannot patent just the "idea".
No, you are wrong. You don't need to physically build the thing to patent it.

Another quote from the link above:
"For example, you could patent a new shape for a boat or plane, even if you haven't actually built it."

Or let me give a real example. My brother (a cognitive scientist) proposed a new theory of how the brain works:
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S002251931500106X
This, of course, cannot be patented. But he patented the idea

how to use it to build artificial intelligence. Yet, he didn't actually build artificial intelligence, he only created the idea how to build it.
 
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  • #16
This thread has gone off in a tangent. I checked again, and the OP never brought up any indication of patenting an idea (I don't think that is even something that was considered). I think we should stick to trying to straighten this person out, especially on his/her fallacy of thinking that he/she has some legitimate "theory".

Zz.
 
  • #17
ZapperZ said:
This thread has gone off in a tangent. I checked again, and the OP never brought up any indication of patenting an idea (I don't think that is even something that was considered).
Ananay Wadehra said:
I just wanted to first patent it or hold the whole right over it
 
  • #18
ZapperZ said:
I think we should stick to trying to straighten this person out, especially on his/her fallacy of thinking that he/she has some legitimate "theory".
I agree with that.
 

Related to Publishing a Theory: Tips for 16-Year-Old Physics Enthusiast

1. What is the process for publishing a theory as a 16-year-old physics enthusiast?

The process for publishing a theory as a 16-year-old physics enthusiast can vary depending on the specific publication you are submitting to. However, generally, you will need to conduct thorough research, write a clear and concise paper outlining your theory, and submit it to a reputable journal or publication for review by experts in the field.

2. How do I know if my theory is ready to be published?

Before submitting your theory for publication, it is important to make sure that it is well-researched, supported by evidence, and adds something new to the existing body of knowledge. You may also want to seek feedback from mentors, teachers, or other experts in the field to ensure that your theory is well-developed and ready for publication.

3. What is the best way to structure my theory paper?

The structure of your theory paper should follow a similar format to other scientific papers, including an introduction, methods, results, and discussion sections. It is important to clearly state your hypothesis, provide evidence to support it, and address any potential limitations or counterarguments in your discussion.

4. How long does the publishing process typically take?

The publishing process can vary in length depending on the specific publication and any revisions that may be requested. Generally, it can take several months to a year for a theory to be published, with additional time for revisions and editing.

5. Are there any specific journals or publications that are best for 16-year-old physics enthusiasts to submit to?

There are many reputable journals and publications that are open to submissions from young scientists, and it is important to carefully research and choose one that aligns with your specific area of study. Some examples include the Journal of Young Investigators, Young Scientist Journal, and the National High School Journal of Science.

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