Amateur scientists: perfecting your delivery.

“How to be taken seriously by scientists and how not to be seen as a crazy, among scientists,” is the title of a today’s podcast from Astronomy Cast, the most popular astronomy-related podcast.

For those non-scientists trying to get their original ideas accepted by the scientific community, you’ve got to have thick skin. It might seem like there’s a vast conspiracy, or a general attitude that drives away original, but unorthodox ideas. But that’s not true, the reality is that great ideas in science come from everywhere, even amateurs. In this episode we’ll help you understand what scientists will be looking for, and the best ways to be taken seriously.

Top take-aways for amateur scientists (particularly amateur astronomers and physicists) hoping to bring their ideas to the forefront:

1) Remember, almost every field of science has amateurs (people without a Ph.D.) involved at different levels!

2) If you’re trying to prove or disprove something, play by the rules scientists are playing by…don’t self-publish a book to pull an end-run or to avoid having an idea peer-reviewed. Instead, take the time to publish a paper and submit it to peer-reviewed journals. It will help strengthen the idea.

3) Be prepared to prove an idea: compare and contrast to related works, test the idea and record–in detail–what is necessary to test the idea.

4) Use the language of astronomers: Math! Be careful not to base reasoning on emotions.

5) Don’t be worried about people trying to steal your idea. In fact, in this day and age, it makes sense to create a forum (blog) and have an open conversation so people can build upon your thoughts. Collaboration is key!

(Thanks to subscriber John for alerting us to this podcast!)