Sunday, 28 June 2009

What does a scientist look like?

I have still been crafting away to myself. Part of that reason for my quietness is that I decided to cut down on blog reading while working, and have instead allocated blog-reading time in the evening. It means that I have about 300+ unread blog posts which I feel kind of bad about: you all do such fabulous things and I want to read it all! However, I have been really inspired to get some awesome science done, and sometimes some things need to take a back seat. I have thought maybe I should have a science and karate blog to run along side my more crafty blog, and then realised that it would probably eat away more of my time. I think a crafty/baking/gardening blog is far more entertaining for me to maintain anyway.

But on reflecting about crafting/baking and science, I realised recently that when I was a teenager thinking about "what I wanted to be when grew up", I didn't really think that the two could exist. I was invited by my old high school biology teacher to come and give a presentation to a group of Year 9 students and it got me thinking about when I was in Year 9 what I thought about "scientists". I always loved science, but I never thought I could be a "scientist" because:
  • Scientists are very serious people
  • Scientists are rarely female and must be tall. And old.
  • Science is only conducted in a laboratory. Chemists and biologists only look at little things, like chemicals, genes, cells or other microscopic things. Or alternatively, they study the behaviour of exotic animals, out in the middle of nowhere in extreme weather conditions. Physicists sound boring and is only for old, serious, grumpy, balding men.
  • All scientists only wear lab coats and gloves and dorky glasses.
  • All scientists must be super intelligent.
  • If I do science and creative things like baking and sewing, I can't be a serious scientist.
We went on some excursions that only confirmed my stereotypes: we went to a university to do a day course in genetics (at the time, one of my least favourite subjects - so dry!) in flies (boring!) lead by an intimidating old man with greying hair wearing a lab coat, gloves and glasses. He was very serious.

Gib and I being what scientists should be: super smart but boring, labcoat/glasses wearing dorks, who never, ever have any fun.

I finished high school loving science but being confused as to what I could be. All because my concept of what a scientist is was very skewed. I have since learned:
  • Scientists can have a sense of humour.
  • Scientists can be short, female and young.
  • Not all laboratories are stark white with bottles of strange liquids and pipettes everywhere.
  • Not all laboratories are designed for studying little things, but can for studying big, whole things too, and you don't always need to wear a lab coat and protective glasses.
  • Not all scientists are super intelligent.
  • Scientists can also bake, sew, fix cars, take part in contact sports, sky dive, make sculptures, knit, have children and still be scientists.


Ellieboo said...

Thank god for scientists who are short, female, young and have a sense of humour - there should be more I say.

I know what you mean about blog reading - there is only so much time in a day and I love reading them all too but sometimes I have to think, if I carry on reading I will not do anything that I want to do.

So go do your science stuff - love the mad scientist picture

Melanie said...

I loved this post. Very funny and real.

I also put aside blog reading for real work (not sciency stuff tho) and I am so behind that I dont think I will catch up. Oh the guilt!

Gina said...

Hello Ms Goat-in-a-coat. Only just found your blog via August St... and then scrolled down and saw my Swiney getting some bloggy love!! Very kind. Given that you're someone who'd appreciate it, pop me an email with your address and I'll post you one. x Gina (clutterpunk at

njh said...

You need to see Big Bang Theory.

viagra online said...

That is the perfect look for a scientist, well maybe without the things in your head.

cool said...

This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want...HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a subject thats been written about for years. Great stuff, just great!
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