Dr. Mark Abbott, Dean of the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric
Sciences, Professor of Biological Oceanography, Oregon State
University, Corvallis, OR.
not working, Dr. Abbott likes to read books about current
events and American history. He also enjoys hiking in the
hills and mountains of Oregon. He has been an avid
birdwatcher since he was 5 years old.
Why are you a scientist?
I have always been interested in the natural world, and I
want to understand how the environment changes and
how people affect it. Understanding leads to better management
of our planet.
What is science?
Science is a rational way to understand the truth about
our world. It lets us ask questions and develop answers that
can be tested now and in the future by other scientists. We
continually ask more difficult questions and improve our answers
and our understanding of the world.
What skills and qualities are necessary in order to be
You must be curious about the world and how it works. You
must be willing to work hard, constantly seeking to improve
your understanding and to listen to other views. You must
be willing to change your mind when the evidence contradicts
your ideas. Good writing and speaking are essential,
so that you can work with other scientists. Mathematics is
essential as it provides a clear way to express and to test
What is most enjoyable about your job?
I enjoy developing new ideas when analyzing data.
Trying to explain something that you have never seen before
is especially exciting. I also enjoy seeing students and young
scientists succeed. Lively discussions with other scientists,
arguing from different viewpoints, and coming to an agreement
are stimulating and fun.
What frustrations do you face with your job?
The lack of time to do science, traveling to meetings, hassles
with airlines, and the changing government rules are frustrating.
It is also challenging to balance the many demands on my time.
to Meet the Scientists
The bold words that are on this page are words that
are in the glossary. You can find their meanings below.
If you want to see the whole glossary, click
to separate into parts for study; to explain and examine
to say the opposite of; to deny the truth of something
a collection of measurements or observations
surroundings; physical, chemical, and biological factors that
act upon an organism or an ecological community
based on reasoning or logic; sensible; clear and logical thought