Who is a scientist?

The discussion about the definition of “professional scientist” has been interesting, with a range of opinions shown. But this raises the question — what criteria make someone a “scientist”, or even a “professional scientist” if such a distinction is necessary?

Here are the criteria I threw out off-handedly for the purpose of discussing the […]


The paradox of the word “scientist”.

We have been having a discussion here about the terms “scientist”, “professional”, and so on, and I have noticed a pretty clear polarity that verges on paradoxical:

Either the term “scientist” is defined so broadly that it is essentially meaningless, such that being called “scientist” carries no prestige, or else it is defined in […]


What do you think of when you hear the word science?

Interesting brief post by Kiki Sanford on the results of word association analyses using the term “science”. Here is a Wordle cloud showing the responses of 126 people when asked what comes to mind when they hear the word “science” (larger = more common).

Dunno about you, but I get pretty tired of […]


Nature Physics discussing Darwin.

I received an email from a physicist who read the Globe and Mail piece and pointed me to this:

Nature Physics, Mar. 2009, vol. 5, no. 3 – Darwin and Physics

The free editorial explains it: It is not obviously the business of a physics journal to mark the anniversary of a major development […]


What would I do with more research support? Part Two: "Targeted exploration".

In the first post in this series, I introduced the background topic of my research focus, namely the evolution and impacts of genome size diversity in animals. Before moving on to the specific projects that I would most like to do in the near term if I had the funds, I want to discuss […]


What would I do with more research support? Part One: Background.

One of the great joys of being a scientist is that we get to spend our lives exploring the aspects of the natural world that most intrigue and excite us. However, the equally great frustration of being a researcher is that our curiosity and passion invariably outstrip the resources available for our explorations. It […]


Conservative budget butchers Canadian science.

Canadian researchers are disproportionately productive and do an outstanding amount of science in light of the amount of funding they receive. That may change. It now seems that the Conservative government of Stephen Harper has taken even more steps to gut Canadian basic science. Budget erases funding for key science agencyCarolyn AbrahamGlobe and Mail […]


Science and Spore.

Tomorrow’s issue of Science features a new installment of “The Gonzo Scientist” by writer John Bohannon. This edition is all about Spore, the game that is based on “evolution” from primordial ooze to interstellar society [Flunking Spore]. I had heard about the game on blogs, but I had not really planned to play it […]


New Educational Model For A New Century

Over at the home of Genomicron 2.0 (ScientificBlogging.com), physicist, education expert, and Nobel laureate Carl Wieman has an important post about 21st century post-secondary science education.

Optimizing The University – Why We Need a New Educational Model For A New Century

There are currently great needs and great opportunities for improvement in post-secondary […]