What is a scientist?
Being a scientist is being interested in how things
really work. In the case of a neuroscientist, how the brain works.
- How one might think it works, at any one time, is important but probably
- Realizing that it is probably wrong is important because it will help you
resolve the many ethical dilemmas you might face. Your main task is to explore and
describe as accurately as you can, what you saw and not what you wished you saw.
- What you see is, of course, dependent on your
own individual perspective. You must be aware of and explain what that
Being a scientist also includes very many other things:
- Describing what you saw in a way that is interesting to other fellow
explorers, and to possible patrons.
- Being a good scientist also requires a certain amount of courage.
- It takes courage to set a course into the unknown vs. the safe
course of elaborating on details that everyone accepts. This is what science is all about.
You must at least a little self confidence to think that you will find something
that no one found before.
- More importantly it takes courage to know that you might be wrong
and knowing that still proceed.
- Most importantly, when you think you have found what you hoped to find,
it takes courage to check. We often check when things turn out wrong;
wrong in the sense that they were not what we expected. It is equally important to check
the things we are certain are right.
- Being a scientist requires that you be honest with yourself.
This means seeing what is there, not what you wish was there. As in mountain
climbing, and most
aspects of life, it is important to know what you are capable of and what your are
Copyright © 1995
Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
University of Western Ontario
London Ontario Canada
Created 28 Sept 1995
10 January 2007