• Question: do you ever get stereotyped?

    Asked by Sarah to Barbara, Matt, Ravinder, Sophie, Tristan on 17 Mar 2015.
    • Photo: Barbara Shih

      Barbara Shih answered on 17 Mar 2015:

      It’s hard to say – my colleagues are scientists and most of my friends knew me before I became a scientist, so I don’t really ever feel like I have been sterotyped. I feel that a lot of the sterotyping of scientists in TV drama are a little over the top though.

    • Photo: Matthew Moore

      Matthew Moore answered on 18 Mar 2015:

      I don’t think so, people mostly know that TV scientists are a lot exaggerated! Also, in films etc whenever they have a mad scientist, they’re never actually a mad scientist, they’re always a mad engineer –creating a moon laser or something, they have no hypothesis, they’re not testing anything just making something absurd haha.

      The resounding stereotype is that we’re really smart I suppose which isn’t actually true, anyone of average intelligence can be a scientist! It depends on your areas of interest, I probably don’t have the quantitative intelligence to be a theoretical physicist for example!

      As a scientist you might be surveying lions in Africa, tracing the origins of the Ebola virus using computer models, collecting patient samples from a hospital and finding out what bug has infected them, studying the social and political factors that are involved in the destruction of the Amazon rainforest, studying human evolution using statistics –there is basically a spectrum of required mathematical ability, from largely observational strains of science all the way through to complex mathematical theory to work out the fabric of the universe.

    • Photo: Sophie Robinson

      Sophie Robinson answered on 18 Mar 2015:

      I used to get stereotyped when I was a lot younger. My peers used to call me a ‘geek’ and say that I worked really hard and was really smart. Nowadays though don’t really get stereotyped because I am surrounded by people that do a similar thing to me.

      Sometimes when I meet people who aren’t scientists they think what I do is really cool and clever. But as Matthew said – you don’t need to be a genius to be a scientist as is often thought. I certainly don’t consider myself to be that far above average intelligence. I just worked hard and had the determination to succeed as well as having a great interest in my subject.