Ok so maybe I’m a day late, but I’ve only done one Saturday Salute so far, so it’s about time I salute the next scientist. I’m going to try my best to put out a salute every Saturday from now on, because they enrich our lives in so many ways, they deserve accolades.
On to the topic at hand…This week’s scientist is one that has proven that anyone can do good science.
When Emily Rosa was 11 years old, she had a paper published in JAMA, a peer-reviewed medical journal. She is the youngest person to have done so.
For her fourth-grade science fair, at age 9, Emily tested the claims of Theraputic Touch Practitioners, who purported to manipulate their patients’ Human Energy Fields by holding their hands over the person without touching them.
From her Wikipedia page:
Emily’s study tested the ability of 21 TT practitioners to detect the HEF or “aura” when they were not looking. She asked each of the practitioners to sit at a table and extend their hands through a screen. On the other side of the screen, Emily flipped a coin as a means of randomly selecting which of the TT practitioner’s hands she would hold her hand over. The TT practitioners were then asked which of their hands detected Emily’s HEF. Subjects were each given ten tries, but they correctly located Emily’s hand an average of only 4.4 times. The paper concluded, statistically, that “the null hypothesis cannot be rejected at the .05 level of significance for a 1-tailed test, which means that our subjects, with only 123 of 280 correct in the 2 trials, did not perform better than chance.”
For proving that anyone can do good science regardless of age, for seeking out truth, and for using science to demonstrate that Theraputic Touch is useless and not worthy of health practitioners’ time, Emily Rosa, I salute you.