Crackpot index

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The crackpot index is a number that rates scientific claims or the individuals that make them, in conjunction with a method for computing that number. The method, proposed semi-seriously by mathematical physicist John C. Baez in 1992, computes an index by responses to a list of 36 questions, each positive response contributing a point value ranging from 1 to 50. The computation is initialized with a value of −5.

Presumably any positive value of the index indicates crankiness.

Though the index was not proposed as a serious method, it nevertheless has become popular in Internet discussions of whether a claim or an individual is cranky, particularly in physics (e.g., at the Usenet newsgroup sci.physics), or in mathematics.

Chris Caldwell's Prime Pages has a version adapted to prime number research[1] which is a field with many famous unsolved problems that are easy to understand for amateur mathematicians.

An earlier crackpot index is Fred J. Gruenberger's "A Measure for Crackpots"[2] published in December 1962 by the RAND Corporation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Chris Caldwell. "The PrimeNumbers' Crackpot index". Retrieved October 23, 2007. 
  2. ^ Fred J. Gruenberger. "A Measure for Crackpots" (PDF). 

External links[edit]