I am currently seeking employment at a university in the research department. Since
I am not currently employed at a university, I am referred to as an amateur. I am,
however, the only person to have developed the 21 new equations I put forth in my
When Albert Einstein came up with special relativity, he was working as a clerk in a patent office, not at a university or in a laboratory like a professional scientist. Einstein was an amateur who solved a problem.
The word amateur means you pay your own way.
The word amateur is a word that many people use proudly. Only cat burglars and terrorists use it with disdain.
In society, not everybody ties themselves to the routines and disciplines of one occupation. They have many interests and an intelligence which is rich with knowledge and utter curiosity about the world we live in and the universe which surrounds us. In the case of science, many people in history have been amateurs. These amateurs were scientists in the truest sense of the word, mainly because they pursued the science with the freshness of a child. Professional scientists, be it the laboratory worker or the meticulous horticulturist, rely on their focus on the jobs at hand, and certainly they are more than qualified and quite adaptive. But, it is their job, which is another word that some people use proudly and others disdain. In the case of astronomy alone, more amateur astronomers have made contributions to the science than professionals, so there is nothing amateurish about it.
I have been an amateur scientist since 1972, and I have original work to contribute to the profession. It may be the most important work in my life. In a sense, it is more consuming than what you might call my career.
I am not alone, of course. The amateur scientists of the world are indeed consumed by their pursuit.
How do I know?
If you check the e-library on the web through MSN.EncartaStandard, you will find some 30 articles listed for the amateur scientist, including such pieces as "In Praise of Amateurs," (The Economist, April 29, 2000), "Amateur Role in Basic Research on Rise," (The Christian Science Monitor, June 15, 2000), and "The Consummate Amateur," (American Scientist, November 1, 2002).
Seldom are the rewards monetary, because the contributions of the amateur scientists are usually not in the field of mass production and commercialism. You would probably make more money working for Mattel and designing toys.
The rewards are a little bit more sophisticated than mere cash on the barrel.
To quote Francis Darwin (1848-1925), a British scientist who was a professional, from the "Eugenics Review," 1914, the first Galton Lecture before the Eugenics Society (as presented in the MSN.EncartaStandard-Quotation/Select), "But in science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to the man to whom the idea first occurs."
In the United States, the law is almost word for word what Francis Darwin stated in 1914, as far as inventions or productions or scientific discoveries go.
In my case, I have both the original idea and the actual method of proof. Most amateur scientists are like me, in that they are the ones thinking out of the box, coming up with the unique approach to the problems at hand. Seldom, if ever, would anyone ask, "Could someone please prove my theory?"
But, if they did, they would soon realize how impossible it is to have a concept without the means of trying to prove it, for if one has a concept, then one knows the direction in which he or she must go to gain the answer.
I can set up an experiment to prove my theory, which is what science demands for credit. I have produced 21 sets of new equations to define the processes and results, which is another thing that science demands in formulating the credits. Finally, the concept I have is so original, nobody has ever thought of it in the last few centuries. It concerns the structure of a photon, a perfectly unique structure I designed which explains wave-particle duality.
Let us, however, clearly make the point that the amateur scientist has many interests, but is consumed with his or her passion.
Take Maria Mitchell, an educator and suffragist who was also a comet hunter. Her passion was obviously in the heavens, and she was "the first female member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences," as noted in "Discover Magazine," August, 2003, p.14.
Take Luke Howard, a pharmacist in London by profession. According to the "American Scientist Magazine," Sept-Oct, 2003, p. 443, "Clouds were first described systematically by Luke Howard, a London pharmacist and amateur meteorologist, in an 1802 address to the Askesian Society. Howard's Linnean cloud-classification system remains largely intact today, and its development thus marks the birth of the science of meteorology."
Take John Harrison, a self-educated machinist who made the most accurate clock of his day. As noted in the "American Scientist Magazine," Sept-Oct, 2003, pp 403-404, his H4 clock was the subject of the Longitude Prize circa 1765, from the Board of Longitude in London who asked for someone to invent an accurate clock for seagoing vessels. He also had some competition from others.
If you want someone more recent, try John Wagoner, one of the founders of the American Association of Amateur Astronomers (AAAA), located at http://www.astromax.org/, who happens to be a pretty good amateur. His accomplishments include "developing a series of three binocular observing programs, a double star program, a lunar program, a CCD imaging and observing program based on the ARP Catalog of Peculiar Galaxies, and an Urban observing program for heavily light polluted areas to help bring astronomy back to the cities." The site tells you much, much more.
Amateurs are quite welcome in science.
In the 1950s, when NASA was first launching satellites, many amateur astronomers across the globe were hired for their expertise and assistance in tracking. They are still welcome for their astronomical findings.
The dictionary lists two meanings for amateur, which is where this article began. One, of course, is for the person who has passion for a subject outside of his profession. The other is for the person who lacks some kind of expertise.
It seems odd that anyone lacking expertise could have passion for the labor. One of the ways one gets expertise is by the numerous excursions one takes into the realm of the passion. It does not have to be a lot of expertise, but there has to be some knowledge as a base. Even someone who collects baseball cards has some expertise in the area, for this would require some kind of passion. Who, without passion, would collect baseball cards?
Therefore, the amateur should be respected, not more than the professional, but at least with the degree of compassion that comes with the labor. Long hours of this labor are the sum of passion and desire, for the two go hand in hand.
END OF ARTICLE
Mr. J.V. Presogna has been an amateur scientist since 1972. He is also a writer, composer and artist, with a strong background in science and mathematics. In 1972, he originated the extension of relativity theory, for which he has provided several experiments to prove the theory as fact. See the "Science" page for more information at http://www.go2jvp.com/
Sources cited: (American Scientist, Sept-Oct, 2003), (Discover, August, 2003), (Eugenics Review, 1914), the e-library, MSN.EncartaStandard, (The Economist, 4/29/2000), (The Christian Science Monitor, 6/15/2000), (American Scientist, 11/1/2002), and http://www.astromax.org/ for AAAA. (Information on AAAA updated November 2, 2007).