Take the 2-minute tour ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free, no registration required.

For the last few years, My friend worked on figuring out the "theory of everything". She is afraid of sharing her theory with well known physicists, because she doesn't want other people to take credit for her idea. So, my here's what I'm wondering:

1) What is the best way for her to validate her theory with experienced physicists? and

2) If the theory ends up being worth publishing, how can she go about publishing it considering the fact that she has no reputation in the field at the moment?

share|improve this question
6  
Her theory should answer it –  HDE Mar 28 '11 at 12:58
6  
By the way, your friend has automatically earned 10 credits according to the rule #12 at math.ucr.edu/home/baez/crackpot.html - because of her main worry - but I am sure that even your modest description is enough to earn many, many more points in this score. ;-) –  Luboš Motl Mar 28 '11 at 13:07
4  
Write a paper, publish it somewhere, even if that is just her website, with a clear google cache date. –  Jerry Schirmer Mar 28 '11 at 14:29
4  
@Faust: every physicist (and other scientist, I presume) gets asked the sort of question you asked ("how do I promote my theory without it getting stolen" or some variant), and at least 99% of the time, the theory turns out to be either wrong, useless, or already discovered. So experience has conditioned us to dismiss anyone asking this question as a crackpot. Of course the harsh reaction you've gotten was not deserved, but I just want to give you some insight as to why you've gotten these responses. (to be continued) –  David Z Mar 28 '11 at 14:59
4  
(cont) Anyone who is familiar enough with physics to evaluate whether an idea is good or bad should know that it's exceptionally rare, even nearly unheard of, for a qualified physicist to steal someone else's theory outright. The fact that your friend doesn't know that leads us to doubt her credibility by default, although it doesn't mean she won't get a chance to prove herself. Science thrives on the open exchange of ideas, so in all seriousness, anna's answer is right: the best way to avoid having her theory stolen is to publish it widely. –  David Z Mar 28 '11 at 15:07
show 19 more comments

closed as off topic by David Z Mar 28 '11 at 14:54

Questions on Physics Stack Exchange are expected to relate to physics within the scope defined by the community. Consider editing the question or leaving comments for improvement if you believe the question can be reworded to fit within the scope. Read more about reopening questions here.If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

1 Answer

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Even though I tend to be of the same mind as the comments, I would like to answer, before the question is closed, since comments are limited in character counts.

1st) validation. Validation means that somebody,, in this case the investigator proposing a new theory comes up with hard numbers from the proposed theory and validates them by checking with the accurate data available from elementary particle tables to astronomy ones. i.e. checks predictions against data.

If, for example, the standard model of particle physics does not come out naturally from the new theory, it is invalidated as a theory of everything.

2) if the first stage is passed, and the theory of your friend by some miraculous manner is validated by the existing data up to now,she can publish with her name and address, her theory and its validation in the archives so there is no way somebody will take the credit from her.

share|improve this answer
    
Thanks for the answer. How can you prevent the one validating the theory by running the numbers to steal the idea and publish it on his own? –  Faust Mar 28 '11 at 14:19
    
Is the the theory/theorist able to determine any numbers without external help? –  Roy Simpson Mar 28 '11 at 14:25
    
Yes. The theory involves a few simple formulas that surprisingly appear to work well. –  Faust Mar 28 '11 at 14:33
2  
@Faust To validate a Theory Of Everything one should do it by oneself. If one validates that crucial postulates of quantum mechanics which are supported by a plethora of data are included and not violated by the theory, ditto for the Standard Model of particle physics, ditto for gravity one would have enough confidence to pursue publication. Once the theory is published on the archives with the author's identification it cannot be "stolen". If it needs others to work for the validation it probably belongs to the group of "theories" described by the comments to your question. –  anna v Mar 28 '11 at 14:45
1  
But really, the first and most important thing to check is whether all the stuff we already know is still in some way or another included in your TOE. Just like Newtonian mechanics are still included in Special Relativity in the limit of, e.g., small velocities. –  Lagerbaer Mar 29 '11 at 15:41
show 4 more comments

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.