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When you think of a scientist… January 26, 2012

Posted by mareserinitatis in science, societal commentary, younger son.
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On the way to school yesterday, the younger boy started telling me that Dr. Frankenstein wasn’t a real scientist.  I asked him what he thought of when he heard the word scientist.  He was very quiet, and I started feeling anxious that this was going to end up in a “dude in a lab coat with beaker”.

I interjected, “You think of your mom, right?”

“No,” he paused for a few moments more.  “I think of someone who is already dead.”

Oh great.  So to be a scientist, you can only be recognized post-mortem, right?  I wondered if it was someone crazy like Tesla.

“Already dead?”

“Yeah, she discovered radium, I think.”

I was kind of stunned.  He wasn’t thinking of guys in lab coats – he was thinking of Marie Curie.  Upon conversing further, it turned out that he knew quite a bit about her.  There was a Magic School Bus book on science fairs at his classroom, and he had read about her in there.

I had to admit that I was hugely relieved that not only did he suffer from a common misconception about what a scientist is but that his first thought of a scientist was actually a very accomplished female scientist.

Although I’m still a tiny bit sad he didn’t think of me.

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Comments»

1. FrauTech - January 28, 2012

Obviously it’s because you’re an engineer. Which is better than being a scientist. *hides*

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