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What is science?

Notes to students/learners

These eight scientists are advisors to this special collection of Internet resources. They answered several questions about science and about their work. They also told us about their hobbies and interests.

You can do this assignment alone or with other students with whom you divide the work. You might want to use the Interview Summary Notes Chart to get at the heart of the scientists’ answers.

Some of the scientific words are long ones. You will find word definitions in the glossary. Be sure to use it!

1. Before you read the interviews with scientists, ask yourself these questions and write down your answers.

  • What is science?

  • What is your mental picture of a scientist? If someone asked you to describe a scientist, what would you say?

  • Why do you think some people enjoy being scientists?

  • What do they like about their jobs? What is frustrating about their work?

2. Now, read the answers some scientists gave to these same questions. Compare their answers to yours. Also, compare the answers among scientists. In some cases, their answers are similar. In some cases, their answers are different. Where do they agree? Where do they disagree?

3. Choose one of these topics and write a paragraph about it. You might want to combine your ideas with those of some or all of the scientists. Share your paragraph with others. Or, have a group discussion about one of these questions.

  • What is science?

  • Why did these people decide to become scientists?

  • What does someone need in order to be a successful scientist?

  • What is enjoyable about jobs in science? What is frustrating?

If you wish to write to one of these scientists, send an email message to Paul Heavenridge. In the subject line of the email, please put the name of the scientist to whom you are writing.