areal scientis

Cathy Quinones quinones at orchid.UCSC.EDU
Sun Aug 28 15:31:14 EST 1994

In article <199408282013.NAA07076 at> MLJAP at VTVM1.CC.VT.EDU (lederman) writes:
>Does it really do anyone any good to argue about what a "real scientist"
>is? I thought one of the purposes of nets like this and WISENET was to
>encourage all women in science - even those who were just beginning.
>If we're going to pull the same hierarchical crap everyone lays on us,
>I'd be pretty sad. Is a non-productive (research-wise) tenured full
>professor (male or female) who is neverthless a fabulous teacher, and
>makes a subject so exciting that people decide to major in science
>"not a real scientist"?  What about sophomores who can ask interesting,
>creative questions? I think the thread is made of really strong silk and
>it's wrapping us up in bad ways. Muriel Lederman, Biology, Virginia Tech

I think it is worthy to discuss, if we end up agreeing that a
"scientist" can be defined in a variety of ways.  I
agree with you, being a scientist isn't about having X number of
postgraduate degrees from this or that university, or having Y number of
publications by a certain deadline.  It is about being having a curious
nature, looking at existing information in new ways and/or collecting new
information and (most importantly, IMO), asking the right questions. 

When I was a kid, my definition of a scientist was someone who knew
A LOT about something in the fields of science I was aware of (biology,
chemistry, physics, astronomy...).  Now I know there is a big
difference between being a repository of information
and a being a scientist.  It's the difference between a floppy disk full of
data and the brain that strives to make sense out of it.
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