Characterists of great scientists

(10 Posts)
sciencelover Wed 06-Mar-13 16:58:17

What characteristics do you think are most important in becoming a scientist?

Here are some of the ones I think are important:
1. The ability to be open minded about possibilities. Commonly held views in science are typically correct, but they aren't always.
2. Dedication and obsession. Those who devote their lives to science to the exclusion of all else typically make it further in the field. Unfortunately, this trait can make some scientists horrible at marriage and relationships (though certainly not all).
3. Curiosity.
4. Honesty in your work. Nothing will destroy your credibility and career more quickly than falsified results.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Wed 06-Mar-13 21:52:13

definitely curiosity
tenacity
discipline (my weakness)
creativity
anal retentiveness
I studied science because I like knowing how things work, and unlike other subjects it seemed to have objective answers. But now that seems too simplistic.

I'm not sure I'm disciplined enough in my approach to call myself a scientist without feeling a bit of a fraud.

sciencelover Wed 06-Mar-13 22:22:45

Oops, just realized I made a spelling mistake in my title!

I feel a bit of a fraud calling myself a scientist at times. I'd like 5 more years of education and a PhD. Discipline is also one of my weaknesses.

I studied science for the same reason. Trying to make the best program/computer/digital camera/business sounds less fun than trying to understand how the universe works. Unfortunately, it's not easy to make a living trying to understand how the universe works.

doyouwantfrieswiththat Wed 06-Mar-13 22:40:57

Ah yes, monetary appreciation. One HR numpty told me salary was not a motivating factor for scientists.

That's another necessity for a middling 'scientist' then , the ability to live on soup! grin.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 06-Mar-13 23:37:21

Love/passion for it. Ties in with obsession sometimes!
Ability to be completely absorbed.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 07-Mar-13 14:53:43

Passion and cretivity.

Not so sure about number 4 (honesty). Some great scientists (or at least, scientists who have made great discoveries) have falsified results.

EmmelineGoulden Thu 07-Mar-13 14:54:05

creativity blush

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 07-Mar-13 23:29:01

But if results are falsified, that's not science.

EG, which examples did you have in mind?

EmmelineGoulden Fri 08-Mar-13 15:34:32

Well Milikan's the classic example. Not so much falsified as economical with the truth. But I think quite a lot of science in the 19th and early 20th century was less meticulous than the ideal. I'm not saying it's good (far from it - we see plenty of it today in medical research, only publishing results that support the hypothesis etc., and that can have terrible consequences) but it isn't essential to be great.

EmmelineGoulden Fri 08-Mar-13 16:05:22

Err Millikan blush

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