Amateur Science

Thank you for Bruce V. Bigelow's article on amateur science (The Scientist, June 10, 1996, page 1). Prior to this century, most science was conducted by people with little or no formal scientific training. Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, and Michael Faraday come to mind. Even today, a Ph.D. is not a prerequisite for making discoveries and publishing one's findings in peer-reviewed literature. A classic example is Donald Parker, a Florida anesthesiologist who spends his ev

Mims Iii
Jul 21, 1996

Thank you for Bruce V. Bigelow's article on amateur science (The Scientist, June 10, 1996, page 1). Prior to this century, most science was conducted by people with little or no formal scientific training. Alexander Graham Bell, Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, and Michael Faraday come to mind.

Even today, a Ph.D. is not a prerequisite for making discoveries and publishing one's findings in peer-reviewed literature. A classic example is Donald Parker, a Florida anesthesiologist who spends his evenings making extraordinary photographs of planets with a homemade telescope. Parker has discovered storms on Saturn.

I would like to clarify two matters. While it is correct that a government scientist ordered me not to visit Mauna Loa Observatory (MLO) in 1995, he changed his mind after I explained what I do and reminded him that MLO is on a public road, albeit a very remote one. The visits to...

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