• Question: Are you at all irritated at the prejudice of scientists i.e they are lonely and have no friends

    Asked by Haybale to Aaron, Abbey, Keith, Natalie, Pete on 14 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Peter Burgess

      Peter Burgess answered on 14 Nov 2015:

      I get more irritated when people who think of themselves as well educated, rounded people haven’t the first idea about science and couldn’t tell you that oxygen is the gas we need to breathe so we don’t asphyxiate.
      There absolutely are scientists who don’t read novels, or like sports or music, and don’t think these are worthy things to be interested in. I believe they are far fewer in number than non-scientists who are either dismissive of science as a part of culture, or who don’t seem bothered that they don’t know how a rainbow works, or what it is about ibuprofen that makes it a painkiller.
      Maybe opinions like this are why I have so few friends 🙂

    • Photo: Keith Franklin

      Keith Franklin answered on 15 Nov 2015:

      What an excellent question! I never knew people thought Scientists were lonely and have no friends. I don’t think of myself like that.

      The scientists I know are just like everyone else – they like sport, music going out – all sorts of stuff. I’ve actually performed comedy at the Edinburgh Fringe, which was pretty cool.

      The only thing I get irritated about is people thinking that knowing stuff isn’t ‘cool’. Knowing stuff is very cool, and you get to do all sorts of cool things if you know stuff (like coming to work in Japan!)

    • Photo: Aaron Boardley

      Aaron Boardley answered on 16 Nov 2015:

      In my day-to-day life I don’t often meet people with this prejudice, and it’s certainly not true of the scientists I know, so sometimes I forget that this viewpoint exists!

      I don’t waste time worrying too much about people’s perceptions of me, so it doesn’t really irritate me if people say it or think it of me.

      However, it does bug me if people share this view with people who are considering a science career if it means they change their minds. It’s not fair on them to miss out on a career they’d probably really love just because people have spread lies about what the people are like!

      Science isn’t the only job to experience prejudice, so I try to keep it in perspective. I also do my best to find out about other jobs and not draw any conclusions before I’ve met people – if I expect people to be open-minded about science, then I shouldn’t start by being open-minded about other jobs, too.

    • Photo: Natalie Garrett

      Natalie Garrett answered on 18 Nov 2015:

      Hello Haybale!

      Wherever there are people, there will be misconceptions and prejudice. It’s sad but true! However, there are more important things to get irritated by than whether people think I’m a lonely nerd just because I’m a scientist. I am not personally bothered by it because I know it’s not true (at least, not for the majority of scientists I know). I have a lot of fun with my friends 🙂