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American Polymathic Institute

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Our Guiding Principles

The American Polymathic Institute is a non-profit affiliation of independent polymathic researchers founded in late 2000. Our research efforts are guided by three over-riding principles.

Problem Rather than Subject Orientation

As our name indicates, our Research Associates are not required to remain within any predetermined subject boundaries. In fact, they are encouraged to disregard them altogether. Our first guiding principle is to allow the problem to take you where it needs to go. There are ample examples in the past where scientists who have followed this principle have made surprising new discoveries or built powerful new scientific tools. Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza has combined Population Genetics, Linguistics and Archeology to deduce the patterns of prehistoric human migration. Walter Alvarez has combined Geology, Planetary Astronomy, Physics, Climatology and Paleontology to show that a giant comet collided with Earth 65 million years ago and caused or contributed to the extinction of the dinosaurs. This principle has yielded significant results in the past, so the American Polymathic Institute encourages its application in the future.

Commitment to Quality Research Regardless of Source

The American Polymathic Institute requires the very highest standards of scientific excellence from its Research Associates. Generally a GRE score in excess of 1,400 combined verbal and quantitative and a score in excess of 760 on the analytical portion or equivalent on an approved test is required for consideration. However, exceptions will be made for a particularly strong Project Proposal. Test scores alone will not guarantee acceptance. Project Proposals are reviewed by experts in every field likely to be affected by the research. We are interested in the quality of the mind and the quality of the work, not the credentials of our Associates. Individuals who do hold a Ph.D. are encouraged to apply. But it is not required and, if you have one, it will be given secondary weight when we consider your application.

Newtonian Physics was overturned by someone without a Ph.D. Recombinant gene technology was developed by someone without a Ph.D. The PC was made feasible by someone without a Ph.D. We have no quarrel with the university system of credentials. However, we also believe that good research is good research and there are times, especially when research is highly interdisciplinary in nature, when a subject specific Ph.D. may not be particularly applicable. As with our first principle, we believe that what has been shown to produce results in the past ought to be encouraged to be done in the future.

Independence From Funding Source Restrictions

The research of our Associates is funded by primarily small donations made by individuals interested in the specific research. A review of the NSF's list of available grants will quickly convince any reader of the 'outcome orientation' of most available research money. The flexibility of our funding mechanism allows our Associates the freedom to abide by our first guiding principle - let the problem take you where it needs to go. This is why our Associates are independently funded researchers rather than employees. We insist on high quality work, but we want no control over the direction the research takes.

The American Polymathic Institute has a general research fund with a minimum donation of $ 50. It is intended to provide research funds for the new Associate until he or she can begin to attract their own project specific donations. Specific research funds set their own minimum donations and may be anywhere from $10 to $200. Larger donations, of course, are welcome. However, if they come with 'strings attached', we will refuse them.


We believe that these guiding principles make the American Polymathic Institute unique within the research community. We are and expect we always will be small. We are intended to create a haven for a very specific kind of very high quality science that frequently falls through the cracks at the large research institutions. We are too new to be able to show much in the way of results. However, very exciting work is currently underway and we are hopeful that people of vision will support the goals and objectives of the American Polymathic Institute, through small donations, while we are building our reputation.


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