Dr. Pamela Norton P_Norton at CALVIN.JCI.TJU.EDU
Fri Sep 2 13:31:47 EST 1994

        Another lurker drawn in...

        The thread on what defining who is or isn't a scientist is
interesting. I agree with the poster (sorry, forgot the name) who made the
distinction between thinking like a scientist and being employed as a
professional scientist. Thus, you refer to yourself as a scientis if you
"do science".

        Which brings me to the subject of this post. The lab next door had
a high school teacher visiting for the summer. As part of the program that
supported this activity, he had to summarize what he had learned about in
the lab. He summarized what people were doing based on conversations with
them. What piqued my interest was that he divided what we all call "doing
science" into "investigative" versus "methodological" work. So I'll pose to
all of you the same question that I posed to the people in the lab: Is this
a fair way to think about what you do? To extend the thought a little
further, how much time do you spend on each component? Do you think that
this varies greatly depending the particular branch of science that you do?

        To answer these questions myself, it seems that we spend a LOT of
time on developing, refining and trouble-shooting methods. Maybe that's
because I'm primarily a molecular biologist, and new techniques seem to
crop up continually. On the other hand, I would rather think about the
scientific questions that drive all the experimental work (and the grant
writing that I' procrastinating on right now). 

        So how do you spend your time ? Is one more important than the
(or is this feeble attempt at creating a new thread doomed to failure?)

Pamela A. Norton, Ph.D.             p_norton at lac.jci.tju.edu            
Assistant Professor of Medicine             
Thomas Jefferson University
1020 Locust Street, JAH 365
Philadelphia, PA  19107

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