Date: Tue, 04 Oct 2005 15:12:43 -0500

Author: "Matt Lowry"

Subject: Re: Unsolicited manuscripts/emails/phone calls


Howdy all,

Another good source of info for addressing unsubstantiated claims or persistent pseudoscientists is the Skeptic's Dictionary...

I often refer students there when they have a misconception about something. And usually it works out pretty well, unless the student is so convinced that their misconception is correct that they won't listen to anything.


Matt Lowry
Lake Forest HS
College of Lake County

>>> 10/4/2005 10:33 AM >>>
Hi All,

I can't remember if this topic has been addressed before but I'm
curious how other institutions handle the occasional person (usually
outside academia) who either calls or emails the department with
their latest theory that either disproves or calls into question some
aspect of physics (usually particle or quantum). I think the less
polite term for these folks is crank, but I usually find them well-
meaning, but persistent and quite convinced that they are on to
something big.

Here, the department secretary, not knowing what else to do, forwards
these calls/emails to me. Not being a particle physicist, I can't
enlighten them with any authority (not that they could be), but it is
quickly clear that they are in way over their head with little formal
education in physics. I try and let them down gently without
encouraging them to contact the professors directly (who would surely
not appreciate it). I have suggested they write up their results and
submit them to journals as well as attend conferences on the subject.


Stephen Irons
Yale University
Director, Instructional Laboratories Department of
tel: 203-432-3664
P.O. Box 208120
fax: 203-432-6175 New
Haven, CT 06520-8120

Yale University
Department of Physics
217 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT 06520

From Tue Oct 4 16:13:01 2005