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  1. #11
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    You could only do small parts of this, and only if you were fabulously wealthy. Lab equipment is very expensive - always in the thousands, often in the hundreds of thousands and sometimes in the millions per piece of equipment. Certainly you won't publish anything without the equipment needed to do experiments. And a lot of things like chemicals are restricted for academic use only (for obvious reasons...), you can't just walk in to walmart and buy a tub of acid or radioisotope. It's also pretty freaking dangerous to be playing around with chemicals (if that's the direction you take) or really a lot of lab equipment without having the proper training and understanding of how it works.

    I don't understand why you're so against being a real scientist. You'll accomplish far more to increase scientific knowledge that way than you will be cooking things together in your backyard without any scientific background....

    Also, your ideas about generating income are insane. You think people will give you money for publishing articles and speaking at conferences? As far as I know, they don't even give real speakers (not only with phd, but with a history of high quality research) money for those things, other than travelling costs. You would never be invited to give a talk at a real conference without a masters and probably a phd, let alone without any scientific training at all. Conferences cost hundreds to attend, unless your costs are covered. I can't imagine them paying a speaker. There might even be laws aganist it for all I know. (disclaimer: could be different in the states?)

    tldr - your idea is a pipe dream and not even close to possible in the way you imagine. The closest thing to it would be getting tenure at some low level university that doesn't care that much what you actually study.
    -end of thread-

  2. #12
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    Haha..what's with the backlash??
    Obviously I'm young and trying to figure this out, I'm already tired of learning crap that isn't directly related to what I want to actually do..so I was just thinking of alternate routes...

    Anyway, I was doing some research and the term for the career is a "gentleman scientist". There exists modern day gentleman scientists who fund their own projects.

    Monetary concerns aside, I see no reason why I can't be one of those people.

    I was thinking "financial investor" in the sense that I could work for a company for some time and eventually convince the company to outsource whatever services I'd do for them to the company/firm that I'd own, which would conveniently have a "scientific sector" aka..the whole point of me working for them in the first place..surely there is mathematical modelling work that I could do for some company? Or perhaps, risk assessment, or something... I'd have to look into it..

    The new technology thing is more to try to "hit it big". If Bill Gates can do it...

    And, fortunately for me, the type of science that I'm interested in doesn't involve too much expensive equipment. I don't need some fancy schmancy particle accelerator to do what I want to do. And even if I did, I assume you could apply for grants or whatever to use it at some time..(maybe not...who knows..) But, I wouldn't need a particle accelerator...I would just need to use one.

    going sans phd isn't an option, though, it seems. if that is the case..then i'd probably just do a phd to get to know the right people...the actual work would be secondary..

    I'll probably just give up..get an MBA/law degree..work for some company..make my money..and retire, though..it's kind of the american dream...ugh

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    Haha..what's with the backlash?
    The "backlash" is happening because, as people who have worked in the "real world", we realize how ridiculous your thinking on this matter is.

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    I was thinking "financial investor" in the sense that I could work for a company for some time and eventually convince the company to outsource whatever services I'd do for them to the company/firm that I'd own, which would conveniently have a "scientific sector" aka..the whole point of me working for them in the first place...
    Good luck with that.

    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    surely there is mathematical modelling work that I could do for some company? Or perhaps, risk assessment, or something... I'd have to look into it..
    The jobs you're describing are those of quantitative analyst (or quant) and risk management.

  4. #14
    insert random title here Randomnity's Avatar
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    don't take the criticism of your idea personally, it's just a really really unrealistic idea.

    most non-fabulously-wealthy people don't get to do exactly what they want to do all day for a career - and if they do, it's because they've made other sacrifices, worked damn hard and took a lot of risks, and also because things happened to work out well for them.
    -end of thread-

  5. #15
    Senior Member Tiger Owl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xisnotx View Post
    The new technology thing is more to try to "hit it big". If Bill Gates can do it...
    The world just hit 7 billion humans keep in mind that at any given time their are only a handful worldwide that are successfully pulling themselves up by their bootstraps and making it big. I would wager that approximately none of those few could accurately describe themselves as "lazy".

    You could always get your terminal degree and do academic research.
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  6. #16
    Senior Member KDude's Avatar
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    You could always bank on cooking up some meth, like many other chemistry majors. America's most lucrative independent scientific career. You can be a winner too. I recommend setting up your "lab" (i.e. conspicuous trailer) near a roadhouse or biker bar. Truckstop gas stations work too (if anything, you can find some good burritos in those places too... at least, I think they're burritos. kinda yellow).

  7. #17

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    Yeah your "independent lab" will have a real hard time getting any funding or people to trust you. The only way they will, is if you basically put out research repeatedly that produces what the funder wants. So If you plan on doing something radical and real, plan on being completely discredited because you threaten the profit margins of Glaxo-Smith Kline, Merck, Monsanto or some other screwball .gov biased corporation.

    Hate to rain on the parade.......but most research that is funded, has a result pre-picked for it.

  8. #18

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    LOL. Instead of ridiculing the poor kid, we could try to see if we can make it more realistic. Don't kill the entrepreneurial drive.

    I know one person who is doing something similar to what @xisnotx wants to do. He takes odd jobs while developing his ideas. He doesn't have a PhD, and didn't even do terribly well in undergrad. But he is extremely bright, charismatic, and hard working. He isn't filthy rich now, but he isn't starving or homeless either. Frankly, he is the only one I know who has tried, and he succeeded. Nobody else had the guts to try. (Actually, I know a few other entrepreneurs too. But they actually are rich now, because their goal was to make it big, not to achieve intellectual freedom)

    They call it "lifestyle entrepreneurship". It is not easy by any means, but if you have the personality for it, it can be quite fun. Artists do it. Musicians do it. Small business "hustlers" do it.

    Entrepreneurs of all ages go against the odds to achieve what they do. But remember, you are going against the odds.

    You really need to know yourself and your strengths to pull it off.

    Kyuuei's advice is right on the nose. You need some way to keep yourself fed, clothed, and sheltered while you boot-strap your business.

    If you are young enough, perhaps family members may be willing to support you short term (no guarantees, but if you come from an entrepreneurial family, they may be supportive) If not, you have to come up with SOME way to make ends meet. If there is a will, there is a way.

    If you are mathematically inclined, and can program, you could look for work as a free-lance programmer. http://www.vworker.com/RentACoder/Do...abSelectedId=2
    Some of the signal analysis and modeling software projects pay rather well. But you have to be good. Fail to deliver on your first project, and you won't be getting more work. The site works on reputation.

    Also, there are independent traders even on this forum. Trading is a horribly draining profession if it is your only income source, from what I have heard. But it is one option for bringing in money for the mathematically inclined.

    There is of course also, the minimum wage option of becoming a tutor on tutor.com. There seemed to always be slots open for math and physics tutors. The catch here is that this can become a full-time, low-paying job--keeping you from doing what you really want to do.

    During the early years. You will be essentially working two jobs. One to make ends meet, and one doing what you want.

    If I were planning to do the type of thing you wanted without going through the "traditional" track. I would aim at becoming a free-lance programmer. Get a good signal analysis or math modeling gig once in a while (if you are quick and accurate at programming numerical methods) and you can save up money to do your own projects. Though, you may have to severely underbid to get your first job. Frankly, I have only heard about rumors about how to get one of these jobs. Without credentials, they may not even let you try.

    If you come up with a good idea, you can get funded in some way or another. I think http://www.kickstarter.com/ is cool.

    As for the land, and your own lab. That will likely need to wait till your small business has grown. My friend started in his own home/garage and then expanded to a site in an industrial park.

    Accept the past. Live for the present. Look forward to the future.
    Robot Fusion
    "As our island of knowledge grows, so does the shore of our ignorance." John Wheeler
    "[A] scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy." Richard Feynman
    "[P]etabytes of [] data is not the same thing as understanding emergent mechanisms and structures." Jim Crutchfield

  9. #19
    Senior Member giegs's Avatar
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    The boundaries of modern science tend to be in the high energy realm. Good luck.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Beargryllz's Avatar
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    This is a fantasy of mine, but a rather outlandish one.

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