Scientist – concept
A scientist is a person whose job is to obtain knowledge in a certain scientific area. A scientist uses the scientific method to organise his/her work. This method consists of an organised process developed to obtain valid conclusions for the raised hypotheses. Nowadays the scientists are specialised in one or two different areas, but in the early days of science, the scientist had to be an expert in several fields because they generally worked alone.
The first scientists:
At first, the scientists were named “nature philosophers” or “men of science”, because philosophy and science walked hand in hand. With time these two areas became two different expertise fields due to advances in technology and science. The word scientist was used for the first time in the XIX century, to name a person who studied nature, but it became popular and acquired specific meaning much later. Nowadays scientists are named after the science they study.
Scientists main areas of intervention:
Although scientists still focus on nature as a whole, they no longer study it as an isolated field. This means, that they had to specialise in different areas/fields to get answers for the numerous questions raised. At the end, they contribute to the knowledge as a whole. This means that the study of this “nature” divided itself in areas such as Biology, and its diverse areas of intervention (Botany, Zoology, Ecology, Microbiology), Mathematics, Geography, Physics, Chemistry among many others.
The difference between a scientist and an engineer is that the first will be focused on gaining theoretical knowledge or at least one related to the general principles of nature while the latter holds a more empirical knowledge and tries to apply the theories the first defends.
What does a scientist do?
A scientist has the primal function to research for answers for specific questions such as, “why do cells die?” This research might be based on bibliographical sources or laboratory or field work.
Scientists use logical rational thinking to analyse the data acquired during their research as a way to obtain more understanding of the world that surrounds them. Thus, allowing them to analyse a subject under several perspectives and/or dimensions which may involve other sciences like mathematics, physics, biology and other areas.
The results of a scientific research must be empirical, meaning that other researchers should be capable of replicating the experiment and obtaining the same results. If it is not possible to reproduce the results, then they can’t be considered valid.
A person becomes a scientist for many (personal) reasons, but one doesn’t necessarily need college education to become a scientist, as curiosity plays a very important role and it isn’t included in any degree as a subject.
A scientist will always try to learn new things, get new knowledge in the area(s) of intervention chosen by him/her. The reasons to become a scientist is a matter of personal choice that may vary from person to person.
Regardless of their motivations or even the means they use to obtain their answers, a scientist usually doesn’t work for personal gain but to help/fight for a cause, whether working for big companies, such as pharmaceutical, biological or chemical, or at university labs.
Many scientists throughout the centuries have contributed to the knowledge of the world as we have it today. Many others still do it now, producing new information almost on a daily basis.
Here is a very short list of some the scientist that were very influential in the world:
Leonardo Da Vinci (1452- 1519)
Nicolaus Copernicus (1473- 1543)
Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)
Nicola Tesla (1856 – 1943)
Marie Curie (1867 – 1934)
Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955)
Alexander Flaming (1881 – 1955)
Lynn Margulis (1938- 2011)
Stephen Hawking (1942 – 2018)
Michio Kaku (1947 – )
Neil de Grasse Tyson (1958 – )
Many other scientists stand out in their respective fields of knowledge and still continue to contribute enormously to the world we live in. Everyday new scientists are forged with the power and the key to change the way we see the world and to change the world itself.
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