Scientist n. person. - One who contributes to a body of knowledge called science. Scientists contribute to science by using the scientific method, a system of collecting and interpreting data, of which a fundamental aspect is extreme skepticism. 'Scientist' is the word used to describe anyone who contributes to science, professional or merely an amateur. Their data is scrutinized by the scientific community, which is composed of other such scientists, to ensure the veracity of the scientist's data, the validity of the scientist's interpretation, as well as his or her faithfulness to the scientific method. Scientists can be either professional or amateur, but amateur Scientists are more commonly called nerds and less commonly geeks ("geek" is more often used to describe someone who is highly proficient with computers). The word can be used to describe an occupation: "My father was a scientist before the War." It can also be used as an ideal: "A scientist does not use such a poor technique." Scientists are considered to have dry personalities, because their skepticism is part of their basic nature. Most people find such skepticism and extreme rationalism irritating. Examples of scientists include: Richard P. Feynman, Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr, Archimedes, Leonardo Da Vinci, Galileo Galilee, Charles Darwin, Francis Crick, and his partner James Watson.

Sci"en*tist (?), n.

One learned in science; a scientific investigator; one devoted to scientific study; a savant.

[Recent]

Twenty years ago I ventured to propose one [a name for the class of men who give their lives to scientific study] which has been slowly finding its way to general adoption; and the word scientist, though scarcely euphonious, has gradually assumed its place in our vocabulary. B. A. Gould (Address, 1869). <-- MW10 gives 1834 as first ref. date. -->

 

© Webster 1913.

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