Dr. Evelyn Sherr, Dr. Barry Sherr, Professors
of Biological Oceanography, Oregon State University, Corvallis,
not working, Ev and Barry like to hike and backpack. They
enjoy reading. Because they are interested in how the world
works, they enjoy reading about astronomy, evolution,
and geology. They like to listen to jazz and classical
music. Ev also likes to cook.
Why are you scientists?
Weve both been interested in science from childhood.
Weve always been interested in how things worked. (Barry
got into trouble because he would take apart things like his
parents binoculars or their record player to see how
they worked) As children, we both lived near the ocean (Barry
used to go snorkeling off Far Rockaway, New York, and
Ev lived near Daytona Beach, Florida), so we were interested
in ocean sciences. Barry read books by Jacques Cousteau, and
Ev got kits called "Threads of Science". Every month
she would get a new science kit in the mail, and shed
do the experiments.
What is science?
Science is a way of knowing about the world. Science is
a process, not a body of facts. By the scientific process,
one makes predictions about the world and what to expect
in the future. The predictions are based on results of experiments
and observations. A knowledgeable scientist elsewhere
needs to be able to repeat the results in order for them to
be accepted as valid. You cant speak with authority
about science without having something to back up what you
What skills and qualities are necessary in order to be
You need curiosity and a great deal of training and education.
It is important to have good communication skills. You need
to be able to translate the results of your work into written
and oral form.
Scientists are conservative and daring at the
same time. They are conservative because they are slow to
accept the results of research. These results have to be verified
by other labs. It often takes years for new ideas to be accepted.
Scientists are also daring because they have to be open to
new ways of thinking. They think "outside the box"
as they investigate how nature works.
What is most enjoyable about your job?
Were our own boss. Were managing a lab and
were able to do what we want to do. Were never
bored theres always a challenge. We have
freedom of thought and action. We especially like oceanography.
It is a field science, as opposed to a lab science. It is
very enjoyable to go out in the field and out to sea to do
research. Also, we really enjoy knowing other scientists.
They have a joy of life. They work really hard and play hard,
too. In general, scientists are interesting people, who have
learned a lot and who are interesting to be around.
It is also enjoyable to be working as a team. As a married
couple, our colleague is there all the time. Were not
working alone. We can bounce ideas off each other.
What frustrations do you face with your job?
It is frustrating to find the money to fund our
research. Most of our grants come from the National
Science Foundation. Also, we dont always have enough
time to sit down with the data and analyze it the way
we would like to. It seems like we always have to go on to
some other thing. We often find ourselves working many more
hours a week than we are paid for.
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
the science that studies stars, planets, and the rest
of the universe
knowledge; source of expert information and opinion
safe; not too extreme; not willing to take chances or risks;
wanting things to stay as they are; not favoring change
brave or carefree enough to do something new, different, or
the process of changing and adapting to an environment over
a test or trial to discover something unknown
a condition of being disappointed, blocked, or prevented from
the science that studies the physical properties of the
Earth and how it has changed over time. To do this, some scientists
study rocks on Earth, and other scientists study other planets
money for a specific research purpose
having information or knowledge
the science and study of oceans
statements that something might happen or is expected to happen
series of actions that produce something; a series of changes
swimming slightly underwater with the help of a tube held
in the mouth. The tube extends above the surface of the water,
so that the swimmer can stay underwater for long periods of
based on truth, fact, or logic; acceptable