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Letters to the Editor

Jul 2011
Gathering Observations

Upon reading Publisher Karen Newman’s editorial on Frank H. Andres (“Wanted: Good Observers,” May/June BioPhotonics, p. 9), I was immediately struck by the thought of a website specifically for the observant. Perhaps a small grant from the National Academy of Sciences or the National Science Foundation could be a starting point in enriching the lives of people.

Posting of the observations of astute people and bringing attention to ideas for ideas’ sake is the cornerstone of a scientific community. This site would, of course, require some type of peer review, which is where the grant money would come in to assist in the cost. Science teachers across the globe could be made aware of this site for the sake of teaching the future scientist how to observe and think.

Always remember that the independent and/or amateur scientist has throughout time made discoveries that have changed the course of history. Now is the time to implement a system for observers of the universe around us for the sake of knowledge, not just for profit.

Guillermo Lugo
San Antonio

Collecting Observations

I can relate to Frank Andres (editorial, “Wanted: Good Observers,” May/June BioPhotonics). When I was in graduate school doing laser spectroscopy research, there were numerous times when my colleagues and I “observed” so much. We acquired spectra of some beautiful molecular systems but couldn’t put together a compelling story to actually publish it in journals – and we had hundreds of such unexplained spectra.

Journals are great, but for actual acceptance and publication, they require a compact, well-defined story: an observation + theory/proposition + conclusion. And sometimes all we have is the “observation,” as does Mr. Andres. But we also know that someone out there has the ideas and talents needed to explain our set of observations.

I toyed with the idea of beginning a publication that simply accepts observations. I had a unique name for it – The Journal of Unexplained Spectra, or JUS. Authors would describe their experiment and submit their observations. It would open the platform for others to pick up our work and build on it. Of course, this does happen at conferences and on the Internet, but actually publishing such observations in a journal (especially if supported by the American Chemical Society, the American Physical Society, etc.) gives it much credibility.

That’s my suggestion to help the Frank Andreses of the world.

E. Dinesh Pillai, PhD

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