What makes a scientist? 
       Lab coat? Pipette? Curiosity and Creativity?

A scientist's job is to figure out how the world works, to get "Nature" to reveal her secrets;
and just who are these people in the lab coats and how do they do it?

It turns out that there is a good deal of mystery surrounding the solvers of the unknown.
What it is about the human species that makes them capable of doing science?

The procedures by which human scientists come to scientific conclusions and how they practice the scientific method with its hypotheses, data collection and statistical analysis remains somewhat of a mystery.

Two vital ingredients seem to be necessary to make a scientist:
        1)  curiosity to seek out mysteries and
        2)  creativity to solve them.

Scientists often delve deeper into a basic question showing a passion for knowledge for its own sake. According to one definition, curiosity is a sensitivity to small discrepancies in an otherwise ordered world. Studies have shown that curious people have a mixture of seemingly conflicting desires: they seek novelty and strangeness and yet they also want everything in its proper place. Scientists may be the ultimate "pigeon-holers" for they want to know not only what goes into the hole, but what the hole is itself.




The curious scientist is also the ultimate skeptic for they believe there is an order to the universe, but the scientist is always looking for some unexpected data points that will test the accepted theory. "One day the object will fly up rather than fall to the ground via gravity."

Scientists often have to think outside the box and approach a problem creatively from many different angles. A great imagination and the ability to improvise are important parts of the scientist's arsenal. In the 1963 movie The Prize with Elke Sommer and Paul Newman, who plays the winner of the literature prize and saves Dr. Max Stratman, the famous German-American physicist, played by Edward G. Robinson, when he has a heart attack in his hotel room. Newman quickly improvises by pulling the electric cord from a lamp and applying an electric shock to the physicist, as we might do today with a defibrilator, if one were available. The ability to improvise is a key trait of the scientist, even those who come to Stockholm.

To understand this scientific creativity, some philosophers of science have made an analogy with child development. The idea is that a scientist uses the same strategies for investigating the world as an infant does discovering his/her surroundings for the first time, which makes scientific curiosity part of the  basic 'tool kit' of the scientist. Carl Sagan once said, "Everybody starts out as a scientist. Every child has the scientist's sense of wonder and awe."


paraphrased from an article by Michael Schirber in
Aug 1, 2007








the Scientific Method scientists observe and measure the natural world. From those observational data they infer the empirical laws (theories) that govern physical and biological processes.
Explanations of these phenomena must make testable predictions and be falsifiable. That is, there must be a way to make an observation that could disprove the explanation. Scientists call the overarching explanation a
theory; A major difference between the scientist and the lay person is for the scientist the term theory means truth, while in the everyday parlance of the lay person, it often means somebody's off-the-cuff guess.
The requirement of
falsifiability rules out supernatural explanations; you cannot disprove, for instance, the claim that God scattered fossils throughout rock strata to make it look as if species had evolved over millions of years. God may have done that, but we'll never know and there is no way to disprove it. In that way, faith is fundamentally different from science.
Science must be humble for it recognizes that all findings are tentative (although in many fields the weight of evidence would be pretty tough to overturn, e.g., gravity) and only as good as the next experiment; (One day the object will fly up rather than fall to the ground via gravity). Science labors to distinguish true effects from random chance. Experiments have "
control" groups to make sure that an effect thought to come from, say, taking a new drug does not also show up in people who did not take the drug.
Good science distinguishes correlation from causation. If kids who play violent videogames commit more violence, before you blame the game you'd better be sure that violence-prone kids are not more drawn to violent games than other kids. If so, then violent behavior causes the playing of violent videogames, and not the other way around.