By freeing people

to contribute 

according to their

talents, SAS is 

helping to make 

discoveries that 

otherwise might 

be long in coming.



Society for Amateur Scientists
 Press Release 
The Society for Amateur Scientists (SAS), a new non-profit group, is an unprecedented collaboration between professional and amateur scientists that could forever change how science gets done. Shawn Carlson, the 33 year old physicist who founded SAS, is a professional scientist with a mission. "There are thousands of people out there who could do good science if only they were supported, networked and informed. Our mission is to empower ordinary people to make discoveries. If you have the interest, we can put you right on the scientific frontier."

     Carlson fires off an impressive list of amateur discoveries: Animal tracks in New Mexico from before the age of dinosaurs, supernova in distant galaxies, prime numbers with more than 10,000 digits, and a calibration error in an important NASA satellite are only a few. "Two amateurs recently developed a treatment for a fatal disease. When Nagusto and Kayla Oddone's young son was diagnosed with ALD their doctors gave them no hope. So, with no support whatsoever they set out on their own to find a treatment. Through brilliant scientific detective work they developed a drug which has already saved hundreds of children's lives. Now that's high-caliber scientific talent!" Carlson says.

     SAS volunteers include housewives, engineers, teachers, journalists, entrepreneurs, and university professors, including two Nobel Prize winners. Their strategy is to bring professionals and amateurs together for the benefit of both. The professionals design research programs that amateurs can carry out and then help the amateurs gain the skills needed to develop projects of their own. "We are preparing to support amateur projects with grants, awards, equipment and expert advise. Our philosophy is to focus on people and let the science largely take care of itself," Carlson says.

     Forrest Mims III is an amateur scientist in Texas. Even though he has no formal scientific training, Mims has become one of the world's leading ozone scientists. His $500 homemade instrument lets him measure stratospheric ozone from his backyard with precision which rivals NASA satellites. Mims is a contributing editor to SAS's journal and a strong supporter. When asked what amateurs can contribute, Mims is emphatic. "A lot! For one thing, having no budget forces amateurs to be clever. We know how to get things done on a shoestring." Mims says that NASA once flew him to Washington to share his expertise on high-quality low-budget science.

     "The Society for Amateur Scientists gives the entire amateur community support that it has never had before. I know first-hand how much talent is out there. By freeing people to contribute according to their talents, SAS is helping to make discoveries that otherwise might be long in coming. It's very exciting," Mims says.

     When asked who should join, Carlson smiles. "It doesn't matter how little experience you have. If you dream of making discoveries, this is the place you should be." Their toll-free number is (800) 873-8767.


Shawn Carlson, Ph.D.
Society for Amateur Scientists
1459 El Prado
Balboa Park,CA 92101

(619) 239-8807 Office Phone/FAX


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 2001 Oregonians for Rationality