Wednesday, 20 February 2013

The miracle of prediction

My last blog entry has generated more replies than anything else I have written in the last twelve months. Frankly I would never have predicted this because the theme – professional scientists exploiting the energy and enthusiasm of amateurs – is a topic I have raised many times over the years without generating too much interest.

Perhaps now we have finally reached the tipping point. The point at which so many amateur astronomers have been left feeling cheated by the ruthless antics of professional colleagues that they feel comfortable speaking out.  I certainly hope so.
“Never again” just about sums up the most widely held view. “They want us to do the boring and time-consuming grunt work but the instant some significant discovery is made the professionals elbow us aside and grab every scrap of recognition going.”

Of course, mug that I am, have been down this path more than once myself. My prediction regarding the response from the person who “stole” my results was almost paranormal in its accuracy. I received the briefest of brief replies from the culprit - followed by a sullen silence from their side of the Atlantic. Not the slightest indication of apology or regret. No offer to put things right. Just ill-concealed anger that they had been caught.
It will be interesting to see what tactics the professionals adopt the next time they have large quantities of data needing to be processed. My gut feeling is that pool of volunteers has just about dried up. Truly the professionals have killed the goose that laid the golden egg.

No comments:

Post a Comment