We tend to regard professionals as the only people worth
taking notice of, when it comes to discoveries being made in
their field. If an amateur makes a statement – or even a
discovery – it is commonly regarded with suspicion.
On this point, I recall that on July 29, 1997, an amateur
astronomer in Adelaide, Australia, announced the discovery
of a new comet. Up to that date, 71 comets had been
discovered by amateurs during the twentieth century!
Did you know that some of the world’s great archaeological
discoveries have been made by amateurs?
When Heinrich Schliemann said he’d discovered Troy, the
scientific community snubbed him. For years!
And there was John Lloyd Stephens who discovered
wondrous things among the Mayan ruins of Central
America. Another amateur.
It was Champollion the “amateur” who got Egyptology
One could say that our knowledge has been deepened
more through the efforts of amateurs like Fawcett,
Schliemann and Heyerdahl, than through the efforts of
The cause of science is not served by automatic
ridicule of amateurs. Any person who so behaves is an
enemy of science. He may be listed in Who’s Who, but
he doesn’t know what’s what.
Both Schliemann (who discovered Troy) and Carter
(who found Tutankhamen’s tomb) were criticised by the
academia of their day. It is worth noting, however, that
while the world remembers the names of the two men
Schliemann and Carter – no one remembers the names of