Thursday, February 8, 2007

"Doing science"

Had lunch with a buddy today who is working on her Masters degree in geophysics. Being huge dorks that don't know what else to talk about, we inevitably discuss our research progress. My friend answers the "How's your research going?" question the same way every time: "It just doesn't really feel like I'm 'doing science.' "
Another friend here at the lab was just recently hired as a research scientist. It's her first research position after finishing her PhD and postdoc. Our conversations are eerily the same as the first, though, for this lady, her main obstacle is time: "I just don't have any time to 'do science' [with all the extra bureaucratic stuff that has to be done]. "
To me, the obvious question becomes: what is "science"? what does it mean to "do science"? Not that I'm at all qualified to answer that question, even if I were (is ANYone?), it is definitely out of the scope of this little blog. However, I can at least list some of the tasks I accomplished today--at the lab*-- and categorize them simply as "Science" or "Not Science". (pretty scientific, eh?)

1. Made a map for my supervisor's NSF proposal = Not really science
2. Messed up the map and did it again = Not really science, again
3. Messed up the map again and made a new one, again = NOT SCIENCE
4. Checked email = Not science
5. Found out Anna Nicole Smith died = Not science
6. Redid map, again = Not science
7. Blogged about 'doing science' = Kinda 'meta', not science

*Even though going for a run and showering (if you saw my tub, you might be tempted to call THAT science) are excellent accomplishments they do not qualifiy for this informal study because they were not accomplished in an environment dedicated to the create science, or some other such bullshit.

Preliminary results: not doing much science today.
What about you all? Any science happening in your world?

1 comment:

A+ said...

no science here. a bit of pseudoscience the other day, but real science alludes me.