Saturday, November 07, 2009

Big obvious idea

I've had a big idea. Actually, its an idea I a couple of years ago, but didn't have the time or resources to pursue. Being at the Institute, where the director can make most anything he want happen, I presented this idea to him, and he wants to make it happen. It is in many ways an obvious idea. When I tell people about it many wonder aloud why they didn't think of it, or think about it's ramifications. My boss says we have to be a little bit careful who and how we bring in collaborators to test and publish this idea, as it is simple and important enough that someone could in theory quickly publish it without us. I'm not used to having to worry about that, and we do need collaborators to test this idea, so I'm checking out potential collaborators' web pages and publications rather than contacting them directly. It is all at a level I'm not used to, and I'm glad to be where I am with the organization I'm in, because they do know how to work this out just right. I'm meeting with the director again on Monday.

And no, I'm not going to tell you what this idea is right now. It combines some blatantly obvious and therefore little examined facts from biology with similarly obvious and under examined facts of demography to come to a surprising (and in retrospect self evident) conclusion of (I hope) great relevance to both fields. The experiments will take some months of pre-organization, and then a few more months to actually do.


gml said...

Very sensible. You know what Tom Lehrer says about people stealing ideas in order to publish first: "Plagiarize, plagiarize,
Let no one's work evade your eyes.
But be sure to call it research."

jte said...

Are you promising us a revelation within a year? Will you be able to reveal the idea before the experimenting is complete?