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It's Not Generally Possible Right Off The Bat

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Posted by Harvey on March 22, 2002 21:28:28 UTC

Tom,

My view is that the scientific community is generally a cloistered community that interacts via journals, conferences, seminars, etc. The community generally frowns upon those who do not have Ph.D.'s, who do not work within an esteemed academia institution, and are not endorsed by recognized professors within that field. The field of impactful science is about as closed to outsiders as the Benedictine order (monks) were to Aristotle's works in the 11th and 12th century.

If you want to make an impact in science, then my suggestion is as follows:

1) Get a Ph.D. in a top name academic institution (e.g., Harvard, MIT, Caltech, etc).

2) Take as your thesis supervisor a well-known professor in General Relativity (e.g., Kip Thorne at Caltech, Stephen Hawking at Cambridge, Michael Turner at University of Chicago, etc)

3) Write a thesis that is brilliant and has practical benefits but isn't too revolutionary that physicists write you off as too revolutionary. A good idea is to choose something that is easily empirically validated so that your fame will quickly occur and that you can more readily use this new found fame to offer breakthroughs in General Relativity (which is equivalent to challenging General Relativity).

4) Avoid the general public until you are at least considered by other phyicists as having earned your stripes. If you do so earlier, other elder physicists will feel that you are too aggressive for the biz and will try to embarrass you. You don't want to be the next Carl Sagan who was well accepted by the public, but rejected by his fellow scientists for admission into the American Academy of Scientists.

5) Concentrate on empirical findings: Never forget the hand that feeds you - empiricism. If you can't prove it with extensive empirical findings then most likely you won't be taken seriously.

If the above criteria is not your situation, then you should perhaps forget about becoming famous for your insightful work. Sad to say, but I think it's mostly the case.

Warm regards, Harv

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