Recently I posted that my work resembles the work of the artist Hong Yi. Her work shows that profitable beautiful art can be made from the cheapest materials; my work shows that non-trivial useful science can be done by anyone. A reader named David commented:
Your work and discoveries, just like Hong’s, are very inspirational. . . . They send a message that every individual has the potential to contribute something to society even with no or limited budget.
This hadn’t occurred to me. It should have. I could have made this point in talks, for example. Beyond the obvious point, David was saying that the more your personal science could help others, the more likely you would be to do it. The prospect of helping yourself and others will surely be stronger motivation than the prospect of helping only yourself.
How can one person’s personal science help others? This doesn’t happen automatically, it has to be arranged. My Journal of Personal Science and the Make Yourself Healthy Meetup group are two ways of facilitating this. What about other ways?
David’s comment made me think of another way: Acne Club, that is, a high school club for people with acne. The purpose of the club is to promote personal science about acne. Members of the club try to find the causes of their acne, partly by self-experimentation. They meet to share results and ideas (e.g., treatments to try, how to measure acne) and encourage each other. The discovery of two groups of “primitive” people who have no acne suggests that all acne has environmental causes. If a high school group could identify even one environmental cause, it would be a huge contribution to human well-being — especially the well-being of high-school students. I think this is quite possible.
I had acne as a teenager. If you start such a club, I would be happy to help you however I can. For example, I could give advice about measurement and experimental design and could publicize what you learn.