• Question: How serious are you about Science? :)

    Asked by jule554mmy to Alan, Caspar, Diana, Murray, Sarah on 15 Mar 2011 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Alan Winfield

      Alan Winfield answered on 14 Mar 2011:

      Hi Jule – good question. It would be very easy to say “I’m very serious about science”, but what’s does that mean?

      For me being serious about science (which I am) means being very true to the scientific method, i.e. testing ideas with experiments and not making any claims about your ideas unless your experiments can be repeated by others and give the same results. Also important is scientific honesty, i.e. always being truthful about your experiments even if they go wrong, and being cautious about claiming that you know the answers or have found the truth. I’m also a big fan of Ockham’s razor – a principle invented by a 14th century monk which states that the simplest explanation for something is probably the best. However, we do need to be careful with Ockham’s razor. The history of science shows only too well that what was once thought the simplest explanation can turn out to be wrong (like the Earth being at the centre of the Solar System).

      I also think that being serious about science means also not taking yourself too seriously:-)

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 14 Mar 2011:

      Pretty serious I guess! When you do a PhD sometimes it can take over your life a little bit. Like sometimes I can’t get to sleep at night because I’m worried about my research and how it is going, and sometimes if I’m flicking through TV channels I’ll end up watching something kind of sciency, and then I spend a lot of evenings studying and weekends too! At the same time, I’m working on my workshop and for example last weekend, I was doing an exhibit at a science festival so I was doing that all weekend and then back to work today. So yeah, science is pretty much all I do at the moment! I need a break!! 😀

    • Photo: Murray Collins

      Murray Collins answered on 14 Mar 2011:

      Fairly serious, well serious enough to be doing it now. But that doesn’t mean science is always serious. The more I see, the more science seems to be about creativity and imagination – developing new ideas and solving problems. Some of the best scientists I have met are really good fun. We had lots of parties when I worked in Gabon recenty, and the people I work with now are really social too. We go out a lot together!

    • Photo: Diana Drennan

      Diana Drennan answered on 14 Mar 2011:

      Serious ? Why do I have to be serious ? Can’t I be playful ? or curious ? or amazed ? or excited ? Science is so cool and interesting – I have fun with it and with other scientists !

    • Photo: Caspar Addyman

      Caspar Addyman answered on 15 Mar 2011:

      I am very serious about doing experiments properly and being professional about other aspects of the job such as teaching, or reviewing other people’s work or communicating and justifying what I am doing and why I am doing it. I am also serious t I want to do science for rest of my working life. But not too serious about the day to day experience of being a scientist. Which is so much fun you can’t help being happy in what you do.

      Besides it is diffficult to be too serious when you have blue hair and spend quite a lot of your time pulling gurgling and silly faces with babies.