Friday, February 15, 2013

Yes, Amateurs Still Matter!

One of my favorite themes is the important of amateurs to science in this age of billion-dollar supercolliders and Mars missions. 
That asteroid that just missed us? Found by an amateur - a Spanish dentist.
Countless species of new animals? Found by amateurs. This article gives us a retired mathematician with seven new beetles to his credit.  The article reports that 6 of 10 new species from Europe are discovered by amateurs. 
Even the famous can get in on the act: Japan's late Emperor Hirohito, an avid amateur marine biologist, found a new crab.
As I wrote in my Rumors of Existence, one of the important "living fossils," a kind of small house-building invertebrates called graptolites, was discovered by a London opthamologist, Noel Dilly, who became so well known that professional scientists sent him collections of sea floor animals to study.

1 comment:

Laurence Clark Crossen said...

That is good to hear when critics of pseudo-science often seem to be lumping in amateurs with the pseudo-scientists. I once read one who insisted an idea was pseudo-scientific if it was not published in a peer-reviewed journal.