Channel Your Inner Science Nerd to Make Extra Money

The following is a guest post from Kyle Taylor who blogs about weird ways to make money at The Penny Hoarder. You can read his “5 Wackiest Ways to Make Extra Money” by signing up for his free newsletter.

“Did you hear about the biologist who was the life of the party? He had to throw out his results. Apparently he had no control.” Ba-dum-chhh!

If you found yourself laughing uncomfortably loud on the last joke, you may just be nerdy enough for the rest of this article. I’ve always loved science. So much so that if you stop by our house on a Sunday afternoon you’ll almost certainly catch us watching a marathon of Discovery channel specials. I’m also a personal finance blogger so whenever I can merge the two, I’m in Artiodactyla Suinae heaven. Haha! Get it? Ok, that was a last one. I promise.

Here are a few of my favorite ways to make money with science…

Astronomy – the study of space

Become a NASA Test Dummy – NASA is currently looking for willing participants to come down to their University of Texas facility and be a part of a bed rest study. The study pays participants $5,000 a month to stay in bed for 90 days and let NASA study the impacts to your body.

The downside to this project is that they are studying your body for muscle/bone loss, similarly to what an astronaut might experience living in a zero-gravity environment. On the plus side, it’s 3 months of quiet time to read, watch TV, and play video games. Here’s a link to the application.

Climatology – the study of weather conditions over time

Invest in Hurricane Options – A new website called Weather Risk Solutions is promising to let users buy options on where they think a hurricane might strike. The site is still in its beta stages, but the idea is modeled off of flood options which are used by investors as a way to insure their capital against floods.

For an example of how this works, lets look at the Galveston, Texas option. If you thought a hurricane might strike Galveston this year, you can purchase an option for $30.50. If unfortunately, a hurricane were to strike Galveston, you would be paid $997.40.

Biology – the study of living things

Sign up for a Clinical Trial – This is probably one of those weird ways to make money that you’ve read about, but never knew how to actually do. Try doing a search for “make money research studies” and you’ll have enough spam to survive a cold winter, but you won’t actually find a study to participate in.

I’ve developed a little trick for finding out about studies in my area. I use the National Institute of Health’s website, It’s mainly used by doctors/scientists to research studies in their field, but it can be a helpful resource for finding a medical study that is paying in your area.

When I searched for my city I found more than 3,000 results. Each result will tell you the requirements in order to participate and gives you the contact information for the sponsors. Sometimes the listing will even include a website that will take you to their website where you can fill out an application.

Physics – the study of matter, energy and time

Get Paid to Reduce Your Energy Usage – One of the cool trends in the fight to reduce energy usage is that there are growing number of financial incentives. There are even a couple of websites that will pay you to do your part.

One such website is Once you’ve signed up for a free account, they will link up with your online electric bill and help you track your energy usage. Every month that you reduce your energy usage, you are rewarded with points that can be redeemed for cash and discounts to local retailers.

So what are you waiting for my fellow nerds? Start cashing in on your love of science.

If you aren’t up for these types of money-makers, here are another 40 business ideas to start from home.


  1. I feel like some of these suggestions are not necessarily saving you money. Investing in a hurricane? This seems more like gambling to me. You are betting that a hurricane will strike. If it doesn’t you are out the money. The places who sell this type of product are transfering the risk to you as the investor and keeping your money.It doesn’t seem like a very good option.

    • I don’t think the point was to save money, but rather, to potentially make money. I would say that doing the bed rest study could be just as risky to your future as betting $30 on a hurricane would…

  2. Hadn’t heard of those websites, although if they are like similar point-counting sites I would guess it takes a long time to rack up a decent number of points to redeem.

    Esp. if you’re like me and already doing way above and beyond as far as green living.

  3. I wish I had known about the energy usage one 6 months ago; after being gouged on our bill the first few months in our new home I managed to cut our usage by almost 70%. Doesn’t count for much now, except for our energy savings 🙂