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...
  1  notes

"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."