A scientist is the catch all definition for those who perform science. Like many academic terms it is unscientifically defined. A scientist is usually additionally defined by his position is the academic hierarchy, his discipline, the number of papers published and cited and most importantly how much funding he has (as the former definitions rely on this).
It is vitally important not to let scientists get too bored. Otherwise, things like “http://www.newscientist.com/blog/shortsharpscience/2008/07/rappin-physics.html” happen.
There are an infinite number of disciplines available in academia. This is because a scientific discipline is a word purely designed to achieve funding and a good scientist knows how to make up a brand new discipline on the spot to achieve it. A scientist may be a member of several disciplines. Some of which are macro (i.e. physics, biology, chemistry), some micro (i.e. material engineering), some cross disciplinary (i.e. computational neuroscience) and some made up while high on cocaine in front of the review board from a funding body (i.e. integrative neuroscience).
Scientifically this means fuck all.
However a rapidly burgeoning science of which Dave_M has just invented and is seeking funding for is sciencephrenology. This exciting new discipline will open up many new areas of research which are profitable and will have immediate returns on any number of patents and technologies.
Sciencephrenology is the discipline in which a scientist’s personality and mental attributes are identified by their choice of discipline. This will enable funding bodies to gain more control of scientists as well as increase the scientists ability to meet deadlines and
jump through more fucking hoops perform science.
Physicists come in two flavours, Theoretical and Applied. However, some features are common to both.
A physicist usually has a higher tendency of believing they are doing SCIENCE! then most other disciplines. This is generally because they get away with providing little in the way of substantial returns from the last 50 years as everyone keeps hoping they might come up with something amazing again soon. One strategy physicists have engaged in to collect more funding and build a bigger academic empire is the universal theory of everything routine. In this routine the physicist uses terms such as paradigm, ant hills and occasionally random bits of string to blag that once the breakthrough comes everything will be different and amazing.
In recent years, however, this seems to be less effective, and the reductionist demons stopped being helpful and have once again begun to force physicists to diverge, much to their chagrin. Another reason may well be that string theory is Silly.
The greatest and most brilliant example of this technique was invented by J.J Thomson who while heavily inebriated was queried at a Christmas function was queried on the secrets of the atom. Knowing that his funding was at risk he choose to claim that the atomic structure of the universe was lots and lots of little Christmas puddings (or specifically plum puddings).
Many physicists are considerably grateful this occasion had not occurred while Thomson was at the Bordello he commonly frequented as indeed should the world be. Had he been, the universe would be a very different place indeed.
Fortunately Thomson’s model soon fell out of favour with the general population of physicists and once again reality returned to a better, less squigy substance. This was an excellent save on the part of the physics community as they rapidly realised that if the universe was made out of plum puddings the general populace would rapidly fall out of favour with physics after their third helping and probably riot when they realised they were going to have to have a helping everyday for the next week if they didn’t want to waste the physicists new contribution.
The Plum Pudding model was not long dead, however, when things began to get much, much stranger and more bafflingly incomprehensible. This is because of Quantum.
Applied Physicists tend to believe they are doing SCIENCE!, typically because they are. However, luckily for the rest of us, they tend to produce useful results on a fairly regular basis. It is a mistake, however, to expect these results to have practical applications. That is an Engineer’s job. If you want to know where your flying car is, you should ask them.
Theoretical Physicist are strange creatures. They tend to get very, very excited about obscure pieces of theory, or just random bits of the maths. This often leads to them going off on bizzare tangents due to their own intellectual curiosity which are of zero use to anyone. When this happens, it all gets Silly. This is, in a nutshell, how String Theory was born.
Your average physicist is highly capable of mathematics, and one should take the opportunity to remind them of this at every opportunity. Note however that mathematics is considerably different from maths which they will remind you when asked why they cannot handle simple addition and subtraction. Strangely for such a quiet occasionally anti-social creature they can throw the most amazing parties when amongst their own kind and which anyone else who manages to get in will have fun memories for life. However when not with other physicists at another party they can kill it horribly.
In the experience of Iasus, the converse is true. Parties composed of physicists are, in his experience, incredibly dull. The last one he went to made him want to gouge his own eyes out with a rusty spoon.
The sciencephrenology hypothesis is that unlike biologists (who have a hive scientific ability) physicists relagated thier social instincts to the communial conciousness. Thus the more physicists in one room the more social and charistmatic they become and if they should ever reach a critical mass in population the world will become one big bonobo monkey orgy.
As such sciencephrenology is of the opinion that this would be detrimental to our funding and so physicists should continued to be mocked to help curtail this threat.
The physicist has also gained a new and highly dangerous ability to get wacked out of their head on theoretical physics. Due to a genetic quirk in dopaminic levels certain pot heads enter the discipline and become massive competant physicists. In the final stages they turn away from LSD, amphetimines and pyschoactive substances in favour of subpartical and quantum mechanics.
Biology is a rapidly evolving and growing macro discipline. There are several reasons for this, first and foremost being the large amount of succesful research and thier occasional application in other area’s of science which biology examined and subsequently half inched. While without a doubt the best biologists are those who were acidentally half inched along with their research this entry shall focus on biologists who are foolish enough to openly call themselves this.
Some common traits shared by biologists is their tendency to think mathematics only comprises of differential equations of which they are inordinately proud of their ability to solve. Thier offices can occasionally consist of purely mac computers and thier general programming ability starts and ends with spread sheet formulas. However this is not to say that biologists who openly call themselves biologists do not contribute to the discipline of biology.
This is because biologists have been trained and are specialists in one of the black arts of academia.
That of collaboration.
Collaboration in academia is a particularly nasty and dangerous gray area of expertise at which only the smartest and most sucessful scientists survive. In addition it can require dirty non-scientific skills such as face to face communication, listening and being reasonable.
Occasionally it can even involve compromise, a term every scientist has been pre-conditioned to hate through special summer courses. One of the key points in training and why most scientists despise this particular black art revolves around the pre-conditioning they recieve during their final chance at academic escape or degree.
This is because before post-graduate level any retard can get onto to any degree and leave with a tutu at the end (though not everyone who leaves with a tutu is a retard). Thus during group coursework the budding inoccent post graduate discovers that if they want to continue they must not just complete thier work but half the other collaborators. This quickly scars them and helps condition them into avoiding the real world and staying trapped in academia.
The side effect of this is of course they become allergic to true collaboration and distrustful of their fellow academics.
Biologists escape the worse effects of this however as until they reach a certain tier in the academic heirarchy their work must be supervised and thus it is transparent to their assessor who is putting in the effort.
This is not to say that they still do not suffer from negative effects from this experiance as otherwise they would have a higher escape ratio but they are considerably less scared from the experiance.
The principle flaw in this sciencephrenology argument however is that it requires thier supervisor to actually care and unfortunately as this will typically be a post graduate this is unlikely.
Prehaps it is an unexplainable phenomon therefore.
Your average Biologist is more neurotic then any other member of one of the macro disciplines. This is due to the duality of the fact they are more highly social then any of the others against the fact they are scientists. The current strategy utilised by academia therefore is to remove either their scientific ability or their social tendencies.
To achieve the later, funding bodies insist on large amounts of very boring courses such as radiation training. This has the effect of being a mental lobotomy and psychically removes the offending parts of their personality by traumatising them. To achieve the former the biologist is tricked into accepting an administrative position or one of resource responsibility, this grants them extra opportunities to be social and therefore reduces the amount of actual science they perform. Which in turn after time completely removes all scientific ability from their minds. Many administrators are unaware of this fact and continue to believe they are making genuine contributions to science instead of getting in the way. Further more administrators allow more courses to be performed which in turn leads to more biologists having their social tendencies obliterated.
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