02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Origin of the Word "Scientist"

At one meeting, chaired by William Whewell, Coleridge was drawn into a passionate discussion of semantics. It revolved around the question of what exactly someone who works ‘in the real sciences’ (as he had phrased it) should be called. This is how Whewell reported the British Association debate in the Quarterly Review of 1834: Formerly the ‘learned’ embraced in their wide grasp all the branches of the tree of knowledge, mathematicians as well as philologers, physical as well as ant...
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"Philosopher" was too lofty and indistinguishable from the soft science. "Atheist" was fatal. "Savans" (French for "learned) was too assuming, but "science" (from the Lating "scientia" meaning "knowledge") combined with "ist" was perfect, like "artist" or "economist."

02 JAN 2012 by ideonexus

 Humphry Davy's Wife Doesn't Like Michael Faraday

She in turn may also have found Faraday physically awkward, and even irritating. He was small and stocky — not more than five foot four — with a large head that always seemed slightly too big for his body. His broad, open face was surrounded by an unruly mass of curling hair parted rather punctiliously in the middle (a style he never abandoned). His large, dark, wide-apart eyes gave him a curious air of animal innocence. He spoke all his life with a flat London accent (no match for Jane...
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An amusing description of the physicist, who was widely respected as a lecturer, but disliked by the social woman.

28 JUL 2011 by ideonexus

 Children are Scientists

Thousands of experiments confirm that babies learn about their environment through a series of increasingly self-corrected ideas. They experience sensory observations, make predictions about what they observe, design and deploy experiments capable of testing their predictions, evaluate their tests, and add that knowledge to a self-generated, growing database. The style is naturally aggressive, wonderfully flexible, and annoyingly persistent. They use fluid intelligence to extract information,...
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They explore, test hypotheses, and record everything in memory to understand the world.

20 MAY 2011 by ideonexus

 What Makes a Person Predisposed To Science

One thing seems clear. Scientists are people, not rational automatons. They differ from other people in terms of what they do, in the things that give them satisfaction, more than in terms of completely special capacities. There is nothing you can say about them as persons that you cannot also say about some people who are not scientists. And there is almost nothing you can say about a man in some particular field of science that you cannot also say about someone in another field of science. ...
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A love of knowledge for its own sake appears to be the most important factor.