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  #361  
Old 17.12.2007, 12:59
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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I realized too late in the life that I want to be a geologist.
Would you believe I think I should of been an accountant--ah, to spend all day crunching numbers with Excel, seems so easy...
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  #362  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:02
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Yes, yes, advancement of knowledge, of course. The 'standing on the shoulders of giants' is what science is all about. Students routinely learn and are expected to understand what took 100's of years to get too. However, as a 'scientist' reproducibility is highly important as if you can't reproduce another person's work, how are you to advance the overall field of science?

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Sigh. I would hope that the goal of any research is advancement of knowledge, not just reproducibility. Anyway, isn't the key trying to understand why variants occur and the impact of different environments, the robustness of systems?

And the truth is that when social scientists look at human behavior in areas such as cognitive psychology, decision making, experimental economics, voting behavior, game theory - there is a great deal of reproducibility in the form of consistent behavior and responses.


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  #363  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:02
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I reckon accountants, especially Financial accountants, spend their days secretly frustrated that they dont make anything (new), but simply account for the others that do. I would rather be a scientist, even whinging about funding submissions, and being second-author, than a financial accountant any day.

Management accountancy on the other hand seems a far more rewarding activity...

dave

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Would you believe I think I should of been an accountant--ah, to spend all day crunching numbers with Excel, seems so easy...
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  #364  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:05
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I like being a professional looser. It's such an underrated profession :
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  #365  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:11
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I reckon accountants, especially Financial accountants, spend their days secretly frustrated that they dont make anything (new), but simply account for the others that do. I would rather be a scientist, even whinging about funding submissions, and being second-author, than a financial accountant any day.

dave
Of course I'm happy to be a scientist! But the pain of writing my diss is pretty excruciating....some days, I feel like running away and working in a Migros in some mountain village....

But management--I'm not a physicists but a materials scientist (the friendlier physicists, from my experience--sorry physicists!!) but I've definitely lost ALL my people skills and have zero patience for meetings, how will I exist in the real world?
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  #366  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:13
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Oh, the disseration. There's something I never ever want to do again. After I turned in my thesis, if my committee wanted me to change anything or do anything else I was pretty much of the mindset to tell them: "Take my thesis and shove it up your collective asses"

I like materials scientists, although I am organic myself. The key to not losing all of your social competence is to make sure to always have friends that aren't scientists. They'll keep you from becoming a total nerd and make you talk about things that aren't science related.

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Of course I'm happy to be a scientist! But the pain of writing my diss is pretty excruciating....some days, I feel like running away and working in a Migros in some mountain village....

But management--I'm not a physicists but a materials scientist (the friendlier physicists, from my experience--sorry physicists!!) but I've definitely lost ALL my people skills and have zero patience for meetings, how will I exist in the real world?
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  #367  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:15
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Of course I'm happy to be a scientist! But the pain of writing my diss is pretty excruciating....some days, I feel like running away and working in a Migros in some mountain village....

But management--I'm not a physicists but a materials scientist (the friendlier physicists, from my experience--sorry physicists!!) but I've definitely lost ALL my people skills and have zero patience for meetings, how will I exist in the real world?
See? It's starting - have you grown the ear-hair yet?
The number of times I nearly baled out of thesis writing to go and join the RAF...
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  #368  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:16
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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But management--I'm not a physicists but a materials scientist (the friendlier physicists, from my experience--sorry physicists!!) but I've definitely lost ALL my people skills and have zero patience for meetings, how will I exist in the real world?
What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - think of it as quenching iron
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  #369  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:34
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Oh, the disseration. There's something I never ever want to do again. After I turned in my thesis, if my committee wanted me to change anything or do anything else I was pretty much of the mindset to tell them: "Take my thesis and shove it up your collective asses"

I like materials scientists, although I am organic myself. The key to not losing all of your social competence is to make sure to always have friends that aren't scientists. They'll keep you from becoming a total nerd and make you talk about things that aren't science related.
Ah, tell me that the dissertating will end!!!

But the whole work separate from life issue--this is why I'm so happy about life here in Switz--I made a lot of friends who do all sorts of different things, not just materials science stuff!

But I will never be one of those people who _only_ talk about work. Even at work it gives me a headache! :-P

But meetings are something totally different--maybe I'm a manager in denial, but I cannot handle meetings where nothing is accomplished! 99% of all meetings are so disorganized, and usually one person goes on and on about something totally irrelevant! I end up steaming in the corner and being in a bad mood all day!
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  #370  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:36
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - think of it as quenching iron
Quenching is for hardness, not strength.

Hans
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  #371  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:52
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Quenching is for hardness, not strength.

Hans
..unless you temper the specimen after quenching (e.g. grey iron)
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  #372  
Old 17.12.2007, 13:55
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Re: Ask a Scientist

Be honest: your mind is still on a nice, cool , refreshing beer.

dave

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..unless you temper the specimen after quenching (e.g. grey iron)
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  #373  
Old 17.12.2007, 14:02
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Be honest: your mind is still on a nice, cool , refreshing beer.

dave

Of course - that's what made me think of quenching in the first place, not grey iron, but grey matter (or whatever is left of it)
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  #374  
Old 17.12.2007, 14:07
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger - think of it as quenching iron
Ah, I guess you've never read that Viz letter...

" According to Nietzsche, 'That which does not kill me makes me stronger'. I'm sure my grandad would not agree. He suffered a series of massive strokes in the early '90s which have left him an incontinent vegetable for the past 12 years. A Thorne, Sandbach"
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  #375  
Old 17.12.2007, 14:10
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Computer sciences are an interesting variation on both schemes - you use an established iterative method - just like numerical mathematics and when that doesn't work you use culturally established formulae

You write a program and, unsurprisingly, it doesn't work so you re-compile it - it still doesn't work - you recompile it in debug mode - it still doesn't work - you re-boot the machine - it still doesn't work - you go for lunch - it doesn't work when you come back - you re-install windows and run the program again - it still doesn't work

Now you are nearing the end of the working day so - you can blame marketing (German) - you blame yourself and go to the pub to find a solution (English) - you can blame the English and go to the pub (Irish/Scots) - you quit and find another job (US) - you can ask somebody else to fix it (French) - you pass it onto support (Swiss) ....
... as an aside, I was a code cutter for years. I once realised that programmers and lawyers are actually very similar...

A law (or contract for that matter) is quite similar to a computer program. Both have very clear definitions of all the terms involved. Both list in a careful sequence and with special words the statements describing what things are in scope and what the results should be and how exceptions should be handled. A program bug is just the same as a loophole in law - it's a weird combination of events that the original writers didn't cover (or didn't think about when they wrote it).

On that basis I reckon a lawyer with some mathematical nous could probably learn to write programs fairly easily. It doesn't quite work the other way around because a lot of legal work seems to require a good background knowledge of case law, and how to apply it...
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  #376  
Old 17.12.2007, 14:24
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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..unless you temper the specimen after quenching (e.g. grey iron)
yup ... "tempered by time and experience"
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  #377  
Old 17.12.2007, 14:33
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Oh, the disseration. There's something I never ever want to do again. After I turned in my thesis, if my committee wanted me to change anything or do anything else I was pretty much of the mindset to tell them: "Take my thesis and shove it up your collective asses"

I like materials scientists, although I am organic myself. The key to not losing all of your social competence is to make sure to always have friends that aren't scientists. They'll keep you from becoming a total nerd and make you talk about things that aren't science related.
Arrgh! The ####ing dissertation. What an absolute torment that was. The final months before submitting it are still a blur to me.

The idea of having friends that are not scientists is spot-on. If you don't have that, things get very cringeworthy. At uni I did chemical engineering as well as analytical and organic chemistry. The chemistry lot was pretty small and very insular. As for the engineers... totally different, thank the gods. The engineers also had an unwritten but very strict rule against talking shop when not at uni, and that worked a treat in keeping nerdiness at bay.
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  #378  
Old 17.12.2007, 15:17
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Re: Ask a Scientist

I know what you mean about talking shop. Luckily, the chemists I was with at Southtrampton hated talking shop even in the department. Here's quite different, though. Contrary to many posts on the forum, it's actually the Swissies I know who talk shop the least (supervisor excluded) and are more beer-oriented. They work hard, but generally leave it in the office.
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  #379  
Old 17.12.2007, 15:21
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Re: Ask a Scientist

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Yes, yes, advancement of knowledge, of course. The 'standing on the shoulders of giants' is what science is all about. Students routinely learn and are expected to understand what took 100's of years to get too. However, as a 'scientist' reproducibility is highly important as if you can't reproduce another person's work, how are you to advance the overall field of science?
Well as long as you learn from it, that's the main thing. And I suppose in chemistry you can replicate a synthesis. In other fields, outcomes may have a probabilistic chance of coming from the same population, for example.

I started out with an undergraduate degree in chemistry and biology, studied genetics and statistics and moved on to behavioral decision theory - I found that I was more interested in how people reason (or not), and I found social scientists who were quite rigorous in their research and their thinking, every bit as much as people I knew in physical sciences. Both have their place in the world and in education.

So I become very cranky when I see the social sciences denigrated wholesale. And of course there is crap in social science. There is crap in every field. But it's not all crap.

And I apologize for contributing to the derailment of the thread.

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  #380  
Old 17.12.2007, 16:44
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Re: Ask a Scientist

another thread derailed? davea in the fray? certainly reproducible!

anyhow, so i was travelling to england over the weekend on Swiss, and a question occurred to me, kind of science related.

I used the toilet AFTER the plane had landed, but the flush was still one of those powerful WHOOSH ones where the waste is really sucked out. I always kind of assumed that there was a little hole in the plane which opened and the waste would be expelled at high speed into the atmosphere. I guess not. So can anyone tell what does actually happen with this type of toilet?

in fact, several questions arose but alas i have forgotten them. i did buy a nice little moleskin diary to start recording things from january next year... if i remember them i will post them forthwith.

krlock3
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