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Author Topic: Does one need an advanced degree in order to be considered a scientist?  (Read 4159 times)

Offline JJVIGGIANO

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Does one need a Phd, masters, or other advanced degree in order to be considered a scientist? Is a bachelors and a job in scientific work enough? what does the word "scientist" mean to you [?]


 

Offline Soul Surfer

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An interesting question.

It depends a bit where you work assuming you are a professional scientist.  As far as amateur scientists are concerned anyone can do it as long as they are prepared to accept scrutiny of their work.

To return to professional scientists.  In the academic world you are nothing until you have proved yourself with some original work and got a PhD and even then you are only as good as your most recent papers.
For scientists in industry it is not so important and when I started out some 40years ago a PhD was considered to be overqualified for industry because you had almost certainly wasted three years doing work that would be irrelevant for your job and it was far more important to get three years work experience.  nowadays qualifications are becoming more important and top research labs expect mostly to recruit PhD's and In the last few years by the time I got to interview potential recruits for my projects I saw very few applicants that did not have a first or upper second class degree and a good PhD from one of the top four or five universities in the UK.

Although during my working life I have worked with many people with very little in the way of qualifications who have grown from being lab assistants to become really good scientists although they were seldom recognised with high salaries
 

Offline JimBob

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Ian and I have similar experience in receiving on the job degrees. I started work in the oil and gas business as the result the National Science Foundation being totally emasculated in 1971, bringing an abrupt halt to my last degree. I still, however, have been able until recently to get a job on my degrees and experience. And I do my part as well. I STAY CURRENT - not only in my own field, but in all science. But as I an also says, it would be just about impossible to do today.
 

Offline DoctorBeaver

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I think a lot of what Ian and JimBob have said is due to the fact that there are so many people with degrees these days a person needs something more to prove their worth. When I was first at uni a degree was something special; but these days it seems every man and his dog has one.

I'm not entering into discussions about whether degrees have been dumbed down but there seem to be more people with degrees nowadays as there were just with O levels when I was first a student.
 

Offline lgic

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I think it's one's approach to science that truly makes a scientist. We (in my American university) try to teach the scientific method to our students, but some never really learn to think that way, although they can learn to say and do the things requireed to get a degree. Other students think like scientists with no training at all. Most children do naturally.

The scientific method: formulate an hypothesis based on observation; test the hypothesis ; accept or reject the hypothesis on the basis of the test.
 

Offline JimBob

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I think it's one's approach to science that truly makes a scientist. We (in my American university) try to teach the scientific method to our students, but some never really learn to think that way, although they can learn to say and do the things requireed to get a degree. Other students think like scientists with no training at all. Most children do naturally.

The scientific method: formulate an hypothesis based on observation; test the hypothesis ; accept or reject the hypothesis on the basis of the test.

Ah, yes, the reasoning of science from a geologist - T. C. Chamberlain's The Method of Multiple Working Hypotheses. NOTE: This was the first improvement to the scientific method since Aristotle! We geologist RULE!
 

Offline DrN

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surely you're a scientist if you work as a scientist, essentially in some kind of laboratory, whether you've got your position through study (the PhD) or work experience (with a BSc and a few years in teh industry).

Of course many people are employed as science technicians, and they will not magically transform into scientists after a few years, so I think it really is down to the job description, and whether your education and experience enables you to do that job.
 

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