A scientist, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is “a person learned in science and especially natural science [or] a scientific investigator.” While the phrase “a person learned in science” could refer to anyone with a science education, I prefer to think of a scientist as anyone who uses the scientific method to better understand their world. The act of collecting knowledge through experimentation to test the boundaries of our world drives progress. When we are content with what we know, we stop learning and stop progressing; this is not the mindset of a scientist. A scientist seeks out new information and questions its validity, using newfound knowledge to continually test the boundaries of their understanding.
Scientists are open-minded skeptics. We learn to accept that anything is possible, no matter how ridiculous it may seem, but at the same time we must also acknowledge that few things are probable. This approach means that there is always a chance that my hypothesis or opinion is wrong, but until there is evidence to the contrary, dismissing a hypothesis is disingenuous. Keep an open mind, but think critically. The world of possibilities is sometimes muddied with a world of pseudoscience, misleading data, and poor judgement; critical thinking is often the only way to tell truth from fiction.
Citizenship is a personal obligation of each member of a community. Some of you may have recognized this duty as coming from my Scouting background. This obligation extends to the scientific community, of which many of us are members at some level. I take this challenge seriously, and will do my best to maintain trust, honesty, and scientific integrity in all of my work. For the purposes of this blog, I will try to stay away from expressing unfounded opinions outside of this first post, and I will make sure to substantiate my explanations as best I can. If, for any reason, anyone feels that I have not sufficiently explained a topic or you feel that I have wandered away from substantive explanations, then I invite you to comment appropriately and call me out for my transgressions. The peer review process is rarely perfect, but it encourages a higher standard and usually catches the oversights that may otherwise be perpetuated.