areal scientis

eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU eoshuster at UCDAVIS.EDU
Thu Sep 1 11:07:27 EST 1994


In response to quinones at orchid.UCSC.EDU (Cathy Quinones):
>>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. 

C.A. Stewart wrote on Aug 29:
>If that is the criterion, then every 4-year-old is a scientist.

  I think we may be missing a subtle, yet potentially important,
distinction between "real" and "professional".  The way I see it, most 4 yr
olds ARE scientists, or at least on the way to becoming scientists.  The
world would be better off if more 4 yr olds were continually encouraged to
develop their exploration skills and to explore the logical relationships
existing in the world opening up around them as they grew up.  Then we
would have more people (of all types) interested in, and knowledgable of,
science at higher levels.  Even if only a fraction of those 4 yr olds went
on to be "professional" scientists (i.e., those engaging in scientific
research as a career, whether it be in industry, academia, or wherever), we
would still gain by having a greater fraction of the general population
knowledgable of rudimentary scientific method and perhaps more interested
in scientific issues (I know, it's just a pipe dream, but we can try...)


Beth Shuster
Univ. of California, Davis
eoshuster at ucdavis.edu




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