There were at least three reasons for scientists and nonscientists alike to celebrate the month of April: One was the 20th annual celebration of Earth Day on April 22. Another was the 100th birthday of Marjory Stoneman Douglas on April 7. The third was the deployment of the Hubble Space Telescope on April 25.

While all three events certainly are associated with significant activity of particular relevance to the science community, all serve as reminders that one does not necessarily need formal scientific training to make a real contribution to science.

The launch of the Hubble telescope is a fine example of this, since it calls to mind the late Milton Humason, who served as assistant to astronomer Edwin Powell Hubble, after whom the space telescope is named. Humason, who had only an eighth-grade education, was originally hired as a mule packer for the Mt. Wilson observatory workers and went...

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