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Scientists are experts who do scientific research.


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Scientists are experts in at least one area of science who uses the scientific method to do research. William Whewell coined the word Scientists in 1833 at the request of the poet Coleridge. Before that scientists were termed "natural philosophers" or "men of science".

Scientists work in areas of science
Scientists work in areas of science.

Scientists are motivated, often from childhood, by a desire to understand why the world is as we see it and how it came to be. They exhibit a strong curiosity about nature. Prestige, reputation, and recognition by their peers are often much more important to some scientists than wealth. Science and technology have continually modified human existence, and the activity of scientists is today widely known.

Scientists include theoreticians who mainly develop new models to explain existing data, and experimentalists who mainly test models by making measurements - though in practice the division between these activities is not clear-cut, and many scientists perform both. mathematics is usually grouped with the sciences. Like other scientists, mathematicians start with hunches and then conduct symbolic or computational experiments to test them. Some of the greatest Physicists have also been creative mathematicians. There is a continuum from the most theoretical to the most empirical scientists with no distinct boundaries. By personality, interests, training and professional activity, there is little difference between applied mathematicians and theoretical physicists.

There are notable examples of people who have moved back and forth among disciplines. A number of early scientists were priests, including the Astronomer and Physician Copernicus; and Gregor Mendel, whose discoveries on inheritance founded modern genetics, which provides a mechanism to explain Charles Darwin's observations about evolution.

Scientist Louis Pasteur.
Scientist Louis Pasteur portrait in his later years.
famous scientist.
The physicist Albert Einstein is probably the most famous scientist of our time.

Descartes not only invented analytic geometry but formulated a theory of mechanics and advanced ideas about the origins of animal movement and perception. Vision interested the physicists Young and Helmholtz, who also studied Optics, hearing and music. Newton extended Descartes' mathematics by inventing calculus (contemporaneously with Leibniz). He provided a comprehensive formulation of classical mechanics and investigated light and optics. Fourier founded a new branch of mathematics - infinite, periodic series - studied Heat flow and infrared radiation, and discovered the greenhouse effect. von Neumann, Turing, Khinchin, Markov and Wiener, all mathematicians, made major contributions to science and probability theory, including the ideas behind computers, and some of the foundations of Statistical mechanics and quantum mechanics. Many mathematically inclined scientists, including Galileo, were also musicians.

In the late 19th century, Louis Pasteur, an organic chemist, discovered that microorganisms can cause disease. A few years earlier, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., the American Physician, poet and essayist, noted that sepsis in women following childbirth was spread by the hands of doctors and nurses, four years before Semmelweis in Europe. There are many compelling stories in Medicine and biology, such as the development of ideas about the circulation of blood from Galen to Harvey. The flowering of genetics and molecular biology in the 20th century is replete with famous names. Ramón y Cajal won the Nobel Prize in 1906 for his remarkable observations in neuroanatomy.

Some see a dichotomy between experimental sciences and purely "observational" sciences such as astronomy, meteorology, oceanography and seismology. But astronomers have done basic research in optics, developed charge-coupled devices, and in recent decades have sent space probes to study other planets in addition to using the Hubble Telescope to probe the origins of the universe some 14 billion years ago. Microwave spectroscopy has now identified dozens of organic molecules in interstellar space, requiring Laboratory experimentation and computer simulation to confirm the observational data and starting a new branch of chemistry. Computer modeling and numerical methods are techniques required of students in every field of quantitative science.

Those considering science as a career often look to the frontiers. These include cosmology and biology, especially molecular biology and the human genome project. Other areas of active research include the exploration of matter at the scale of elementary particles as described by high-energy physics, and Nanotechnology, which hopes to develop electronics including microscopic computers, and perhaps artificial intelligence. Although there have been remarkable discoveries with regard to brain function and neurotransmitters, the nature of the mind and human thought still remain mysteries.

Scientists and engineers.

There is no sharp distinction between science and Engineering, although engineers typically have practical goals in mind while scientists investigate fundamental phenomena. Both proceed from problems toward solutions. Scientists often perform engineering tasks in designing experimental equipment and building prototypes, and some engineers do first-rate scientific research. Mechanical, electrical, chemical and aerospace engineers are often at the forefront of investigating new phenomena and materials. Peter Debye received a degree in electrical engineering and a doctorate in physics before eventually winning a Nobel Prize in Chemistry. Similarly, Paul Dirac, one of the founders of quantum mechanics, began his academic career as an electrical engineer before proceeding to mathematics and later physics. Claude Shannon, a theoretical engineer, founded modern information theory.

Types of scientists.

  • Archeologists.
  • Astronomers (including astrophysicists).
  • Biologists (including botanists, entomologists, evolutionary biologists, ecologists, geneticists, herpetologists, ichthyologists, immunologists, lepidopterists, microbiologists, neuroscientists, ornithologists, paleontologists, pharmacologists, physiologists, and zoologists).
  • chemists (including biochemists).
  • Computer scientists.
  • Social scientists (including anthropologists, demographers, economists, geographers, linguists, political economists, political scientists, psychologists, and sociologists).
  • Earth scientists: geologists (including mineralogists, seismologists, and volcanologists), hydrologists, glaciologists, limnologists, meteorologists, and oceanographers.
  • mathematicians.
  • Physicists.



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