My Path Through Research

The Trials and Triumphs of Doing a PhD

Who’s a Scientist?

I always wonder what people think that a scientist looks like. Do they believe the typical stereotypes like  big unruly hair, zero social skills and white coats? Being a scientist (or at least working in the field) myself I of course see scientists as normal people. Anyone around you could be one and you couldn’t pick them out in a crowd. Of course unless they are looking intensely at some random object and they are over the age of ten :). But maybe that is my skewed view of normality being what I am used to?

One of the bloggers I follow in London, IanVisits yesterday posted an article about an experiments ‘done’ on school children. The children were asked to draw what they thought a scientist looked like before a visit to Fermilab, a particle research facility in the US. They were then asked to repeat the exercise following the visit.

While prior to the visit the pictures consisted of stereotypical images of scientists, following the visit the people in the pictures looked much more normal (You can see the results here). I wanted however to leave you with the pictures of one girl, Amy. This is what she drew before and after the visit (Before on the left, After on the right):

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Science in the News

I am sure most of you following the news have heard of the Large Hadron Collider, or LHC. You have probably heard of its breakdowns, problems and downtime.

However…drum roll please!…it is finally up and running…and the first high-energy collisions has occurred. I couldn’t let the event go by without mentioning such an achievement. I also wanted to point you towards the article in the Guardian by John Ellis, one of the senior physicists at CERN. As he says, “I want the LHC to be remembered for something that we have never previously talked about.”

That is also what I want for all of science…not just finding what we expect, but finding that which we don’t as well. I am sure this statement will come to haunt me some time (as it has already done at countless times), but then why do research if you only find what you expect?

I will leave you with this video from Tom Whyntie who won the NESTA FameLab Competition, talking about the work of the LHC, where he works

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