Allison Loudermilk

Got a scientific theory that disproves Einstein? Try the Crackpot Index first

Here are a few of my favorites among the 37 different criteria that Baez lists.

No. 7: 5 points for each word in all capital letters (except those with defective keyboards). No. 10: 10 points for pointing out that you have gone to school, as if there were evidence of sanity. No. 30: 30 points for suggesting that Einstein, in his later years, was groping his way towards the ideas you now advocate.

Of course, if your life's work scores high on the index, you're probably not laughing. Baez mentions one such example named Ludwig Plutonium, who's since changed his name (again) to Archimedes Plutonium. Mr. Plutonium posits, among other things, that the universe we live in is one giant plutonium atom. Oh, and his awesome nickname? "The King of Science." I'm guessing that's self-appointed.

Certainly there's middle ground to be found here somewhere between the tin-foil wearing crackpots and the legitimate scientists who conduct potentially life-saving and world-changing research. I don't think anyone would argue with that. Indeed science's history is replete with examples. So does anyone have a favorite you'd like to nominate, um, other than yourself?

More on paradigm-shifting scientists and crackpot theories at HowStuffWorks.com:

How Evolution Works How Charles Darwin Worked How Isaac Newton Worked How Newton's Laws of Motion Work