A Great Idea - A Hypothetical Scenario

Frank P. Russo


P.O. Box 90, Campbelltown 5074 South Australia
July 13th 2001

So you think you've got a Nobel Prize Idea which needs development... in 1987 I walked into the office of a Physics Professor at Adelaide University and offered to share the Nobel Prize with him if he did his share of the work... he declined the offer but recently joked that he may want to borrow some money from me when it happens.

Crucial to the development of the idea is the need to have a couple of Devil's Advocates so that you get the view of the establishment. However if possible (for protection) you should record these conversations and then erase them as soon as publication is over.

Next choose a Journal as a vehicle of communicating your idea... this is not easy! And is full of surprises... If the Journals are near the summit like "Nature" and "Journal of Physics A" ... there's not enough "oxygen" to breathe near the summit.... basically, they can't think, all they are is a "Rubber Stamp" for the Establishment, eg. Cambridge & Oxford plus... and don't think that a PhD makes them 'scientists', all they are is "publishers" ie. "editors". Most of them wouldn't know if a discovery bit them on the 'derriere'. What you've got to do is also avoid Journals that are not "archival research Journals" eg, "Physics Today" will send your work back because they did not publish 'new' research.... "American Journal of Physics" will send it back because they do not touch anything which challenges the foundation of science.

What you've got to do is choose a "specialist Journal" where the editor is a "contents editor" only and as such, a hands on scientist, not accountable to anybody. You pass one hurdle... he can 'understand' your work to some extent, but now you have a new problem for this fellow knows that your paper has "Nobel Prize" stamped all over it. So he starts telling you that "your paper could easily be stolen".

Now you make the mistake of telling him that your computer has had a nervous breakdown and you've lost your paper; but fortunately you don't tell him that you've got key copies strategically with key people, ie, the one with a friend who is a very honest Mathematical Editor, as well as some photocopied copies. The editor sees his chance to make a 'killing'... he claims all three copies are lost and he doesn't have your paper anymore!!!

You are ANGRY... you send him new copies as well as copies of his earlier comments in case these are supposedly 'lost' as well!

Next you start hearing that he's driving a 'bomb' and needs a new car... also he's losing his house to the bank. You are very clever and read between the lines... he wants some sort of "spotter's fee". So you tell him, "I'm poor now", he'll probably interject, "I'm poorer still!", to which you say "But if I were to win a Nobel Prize I'll remember my friends." His immediate response will be "I'll do what I can!" Next you think perhaps he might want it quantified, so you might suggest a figure, eg. $10,000 if you were to win the Nobel Prize; to which his words should be and you do hear, "IT'S GETTING PUBLISHED!"

Unfortunately he later might try to re-negotiate, ie. "It's not much of a discovery, somebody had to come up with it sooner or later! eg. what was the big deal about Pasteur! The germs would have soon stared somebody in the face!"

You've got to react quickly especially because great mathematician friends of his, might have spent a lot of time dissecting your paper, of which he no doubt will tell you!

So you double the offer to which he'll react... "it's going to the secretary this afternoon and then to the publishers"... So the paper gets published! But then you want to clarify it a bit further with an addendum, the editor might see this as more leverage so he "twists your arm" by saying that "it's incomprehensible", to this you should react by offering him one 30th of the prize in all, provided he precipitates your win with a press conference... the carrot is large! But then more problems...

The editor does the "dedication" instead of you! And your "addendum" gets lost after his "letter from the editor" when it should get called "letter to the editor"...... you don't get listed in the list of contributors for this "addendum" anywhere! And your "addendum" doesn't get indexed.... so virtually nobody sees it till you realize what's going on and get onto the "Institute of Electrical Engineers" who oversee the Inspec Database and the production of "Physics Abstracts"!

You are angry... you ring him up and he blames the publishers!

Reason why "addendum" might get hidden away: When Einstein came up with his Relativity, very quickly there were 'millions' of books on Relativity!

This way certain people would get a head start on coming up with a book... most people get nothing for writing wonderful scientific papers... you're supposed to be satisfied with just the 'glory' of actually making an appearance in some of these hallowed Journals... but of course it's all different with a book!

This page is copyright Frank P Russo 1999-2003