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Science 'Not for Normal People'

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 8 years ago | from the time-to-get-in-another-space-race dept.

Quickies 232

Ant writes "BBC News reports that teenagers 'value the role of science in society, but feel scientists are "brainy people not like them".' This was according to a recent study by The Science Learning Centre in London that asked 11,000 pupils for their views on science and scientists. From the article: 'They found around 80% of pupils thought scientists did "very important work" and 70% thought they worked "creatively and imaginatively". Only 40% said they agreed that scientists did "boring and repetitive work". Over three quarters of the respondents thought scientists were "really brainy people".'"

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232 comments

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wtf (4, Interesting)

jest3r (458429) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536762)

wtf are these little homepage teaser articles all about?

Re:wtf (1)

casuist99 (263701) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536769)

Got your attention though, didn't it?

Re:wtf (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536772)

maybe it's like a teaser for subscriptions? sorta like free skinimax for a week?

Re:wtf (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536773)

If you mean the gray bar, I have no idea.

I even checked the slashcode page, but it mentions no upgrades or new features or whatever. It's kinda friggin weird though.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536800)

I thought you said a gay bay. That'd get your attention.

Re:wtf (2, Informative)

rev_g33k_101 (886348) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536909)

Look, if you would get off your butt and look at your options you would see

In your Preferences page, under home page a section labeled "Customize Stories on the Homepage" depending on how you rank the importance of each of the sections on /. it will make stories smaller or larger.

Ones that you rank as low importance will appear smaller, sometimes as small gray bars

It took me like 10 seconds to figure this out

Re:wtf (1)

techno-vampire (666512) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536964)

I went there and tried the simplified page. Went to the index page and went, "Ugh!" Back to preferences and undid that. Checked the index page and the whole article was back. Made no other changes. Weird!

Re:wtf - BUG! (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537005)

I went to that page [slashdot.org] . I saw some strange icons under 'customize stories' that I was trying to figure out. So I clicked on "Learn more about your options for controlling the amount of content on your index page." Guess where that took me? Back to the home page. Seems there is a bad link there.

I'd use the Bugs feature to report, but I forgot my SourceForge ID/password.

Re:wtf (1)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537063)

So every time they add a new feature to the mainpage, I'm supposed to dig around in preferences to try and figure it out? I read this like it was a newspaper, I don't play it like I would a video game...

Re:wtf (0)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536780)

This has already been explained by CmdrTaco.

http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=06/01/10/144024 0 [slashdot.org]

Re:wtf (1)

interiot (50685) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536805)

I can't find the explanation there... care to list the relevant quote from the article?

Re:wtf (1)

AtariDatacenter (31657) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536817)

I don't see Taco's explanation in the story. If it is in the discussion down below, I'll probably never find it. But by the looks of things, it is a teaser for new front page articles that only recently hit one of the sub-sections. These subsection only articles aren't normally visible on the front page, so it is kind of a 'page 2' advertisement? [shrug]

Re:wtf (1)

Bastian (66383) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536891)

Hmm. This article showed up on the front page for me, so I guess I'm not sure what the OP was talking about. I thought the complaint was about the link to the article submitter's homepage.

Re:wtf (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536925)

Try disabling cookies or log out, and you should see it. I see it on my side.

Re:wtf (1)

Uart (29577) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536825)

I see no explanation in there.

Re:wtf (1)

starwed (735423) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536874)

That's probably why he's been modded "insightful" and not "informative." ^_^

Re:wtf (1)

SecureTheNet (915798) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536786)

Maybe slashdot got slashdotted?

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536839)

Why, they're to give losers like you a chance to spam us yet again with their third-rate hosting firm's URL in their sigs whilst pretending to be indignant that somebody got a link to their personal (and AFAICT non-commercial) homepage. ...NEXT?!

Re:wtf (1)

JanneM (7445) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536856)

wtf are these little homepage teaser articles all about?

Don't know, but I'd really like to have that UI for replies to your comments, with the link going to your comment that people have replied to, a mark of some sort highlighting the comments that are new once you get there, and a reset/autodelete of the new comment alert once you've clicked through once.

Re:wtf (1)

Geekenstein (199041) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536897)

Page views are king. If they can make you click, they can make a buck.

Re:wtf (4, Informative)

balster neb (645686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536920)

It looks like something CmdrTaco has introduced over the weekend. Basically it seems that "minor" stories that earlier used to appear only in subsections such as science.slashdot.org now appear as little stubs on the main page. For registered users, this can be customised -- see your Preferences page, under Homepage. You can use that to turn this feature off, or make full summaries for all stories appear on the main page.

CmdrTaco has been hinting that he will be making some major changes to Slashdot over the coming weeks/months. Check out some of his comments in this recent story [slashdot.org] . See this [slashdot.org] , this [slashdot.org] , this [slashdot.org] , and this [slashdot.org] . These indicate that major changes to the moderation system are also to be expected.

This particular feature is probably the first of these changes he's experimenting with. When it first made an appearence on friday/saturday, the stubs would appear on a plain white background. They added the grey styling a bit later. The prefs for this still have to be fleshed out a bit it seems.

Expect CmdrTaco to make a post about this soon.

Re:wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537002)

i wonder if i will ever get moderation privilages... because upon creating my account, i lost them... i could make another, but i cant be stuffed, i like my old one...

Re:wtf (-1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537090)

> These indicate that major changes to the moderation system are also to be expected.

Finally, now I won't get modded down as much.

Dear CmdrTaco Stalker (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537207)

What's he wearing right now, as you spy on him outside his bedroom window?

Re:Dear CmdrTaco Stalker (2, Funny)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537507)

What's he wearing right now, as you spy on him outside his bedroom window?

For you? A green CowboyNeal hat with "+5 Insightful" written on it.... And nothing else.

Now try and sleep at night.

Re:wtf (1)

zCyl (14362) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537338)

It looks like something CmdrTaco has introduced over the weekend. Basically it seems that "minor" stories that earlier used to appear only in subsections such as science.slashdot.org now appear as little stubs on the main page.

It's a nice change. Sometimes I would catch stories I would have read off to the side in one of the subsections, but I'll catch them a week or so late since I don't always check that. This way I can scan through them quickly as they appear, but without cluttering up the screen too much.

And as for science, I think it should definitely be said that a career in science is not for everyone. Being an artist is not for everyone. Working on Wall Street is not for everyone. What's bad is not that many people think a scientific career is not for them, but that so many people think science is beyond them. It seems that science and scientists are becoming a bit mystified and idolized in contemporary culture, and we need to make sure this doesn't get out of hand.

The idea of "its science, therefore it's truth given to us by smart people," is a dangerous one, since the scientific method doesn't quite work that way.

Re:wtf (1)

Ifni (545998) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536934)

Go to your Preferences and go to the Homepage tab. You will see a section that allows you to choose how much of articles from each category you wish to see on the slashdot homepage. The thick bar/thin bar icons on the top row determine whether you see "the title only" or "the title and summary" when the article is selected for the homepage. The lower row is the same, but for articles from that category that are not selected for the homepage.

Re:wtf (1)

onco_p53 (231322) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537153)

I have to say these are a fantastic idea. Kudos to you and team on this one Taco, I look forward to new innovations. It is too easy to be critcal all the time (dupes, mod point abuse ect..)

This is an excellent step forward.

But.. (0, Offtopic)

n6kuy (172098) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536763)

Scientists ARE brainy people, right?

Re:But.. (2, Funny)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536802)

If teenagers say so, it must be true!

Re:But.. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536850)

"Scientists ARE brainy people, right?"

Lemme guess, you watch The Simpsons! Try meeting a real scientist.

There are three types:
1) Those who are hard workers
2) Those who are brainy
3) Those who are both

Most scientists are simply hard workers who go through years of rigorous academics and hard work. This is why it's dangerous for youngsters to think scientists are simply brainy, it will cause them to shy away from science. When really, they could be the next generation of scientists.

[MOD PARENT UP] (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536884)

MOD PARENT UP. Mainly the last two sentences, I am a scientist, and I would agree... sorta:

I wouldn't say a scientist is simply a hard worker. But the average person can becoming a scientist without a problem. It's just a matter of putting their mind to it!

Re:But.. (3, Insightful)

ratnerstar (609443) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536908)

Yeah, because if there's anything that will draw teenagers to science, it's emphasizing all the HARD WORK. Brilliant.

Re:But.. (2, Interesting)

jadavis (473492) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536983)

Maybe persistent, hard scientific work makes people "brainy".

Re:But.. (1)

Phroggy (441) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537264)

Apparently most teenagers aren't.

Enfin... (3, Interesting)

alx5000 (896642) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536781)

This stigma's been pursuing society for ages. There's still some fear (call it fear, call it respect, call it heyiwonttouchititmayburn) towards science, whereas Arts are a far more familiar field.

Maybe it's got something to do with science always ending up being a filter for students; teachers make it feel as if it were designed only for 'smart' people, and somehow generate some kind of disdain from pupils.

Re:Enfin... (1)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536902)

"This stigma's been pursuing society for ages. There's still some fear (call it fear, call it respect, call it heyiwonttouchititmayburn) towards science, whereas Arts are a far more familiar field."

Are you claiming the arts don't have that stigma? If anything, they are considered even more elitist than the sciences.

How the fuck does that work? (0)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537001)

There's only scientists and artists, right?

Re:Enfin... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537162)

Oh, the art majors consider themselves more elitist, but believe me, everyone else looks down on them :)

Re:Enfin... (1)

Bill Dog (726542) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537379)

Maybe it's got something to do with science always ending up being a filter for students; teachers make it feel as if it were designed only for 'smart' people,...

Good point. For example, in CS programs, freshman Calculus and Physics are "weed-out" courses. And taught as such.

Maybe if they took the same attitude that they do with your required History or Govt. elective, where it's "this is not rocket science" and "we gotta get everyone through this", more teens would be receptive to it.

Then perhaps.. (4, Insightful)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536783)

We should be teaching children that scientists are really brainy people, just like them.

Re:Then perhaps.. (2, Funny)

BHennessy (639799) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536796)

Well, not to the stupid ones.

Re:Then perhaps.. (1)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536819)

And we'd end up with a scientific community as diluted as our political community, filled with lots of people who are capable in other fields but determined to ruin the field that they just don't fit into.

Re:Then perhaps.. (3, Insightful)

wkitchen (581276) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536871)

The point is not that everyone should become a scientist, but simply that they not believe themselves dunces. The surest way to fail is to not try. And the surest way to not try is to believe yourself incapable.

Have you ever watched a small child learn? It's really quite amazing. And it is not only the exceptional ones that are amazing. It's a shame that the momentum is so often lost. I understand that the sponge-like absorption of language in early childhood is a developmental phase and can't reasonably be expected to go on forever or to readily transfer to other kinds of learning. But the fact that children do perform much better in some environments than in others shows that there is indeed some momentum that doesn't have to be lost. I'm convinced that there is a great deal of unrealized human potential in the world to such an extent that 'unrealized' describes nearly all of it. It's easy to talk about how 'dumb' the 'average person' is. But I believe that this dumbness is much more learned than innate. And I believe that when viewed as what they potentially could become, rather than what they often do become, an 'average person' is really a quite astounding thing.

Re:Then perhaps.. (2, Funny)

johncadengo (940343) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536977)

You're obviously an idealist in a world filled with dumb people.

From the summary... (4, Insightful)

Blondie-Wan (559212) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536797)

From the article: 'They found around 80% of pupils thought scientists did "very important work" and 70% thought they worked "creatively and imaginatively". Only 40% said they agreed that scientists did "boring and repetitive work".

Everyone who gave one of those three answers was right.

Re:From the summary... (1)

wanax (46819) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536979)

Indeed, scientists' work is certainly important, imaginative and repetitive... I'd leave out the boring part, because I think nearly everybody who has ever published a scientific paper would agree with me that doing so is actually extremely exciting and interesting. Knowing that you (and your colleagues) have discovered or observered something that nobody else ever has is something that is incredibly exciting. I just wish that there was a better method in place to convey that sense of excitement over to people before or while they are in college, since unfortunately unless you wind up working in a lab you probably don't experience it.

What is missing in that survey is "How do scientists communicate?" and the answer is in general "very poorly." The thing that is missing in science is a wealth of communicators that seek to make science interesting to those who don't have the time or inclination to study it. In the recent past that's been somewhat handled by major science fiction writers like Asimov... but now it seems to be a major void in the entire scientific enterprise, which is why so many interest groups can convincingly distort science to their own agendas.

One thing that scientists have to remember, no matter how well otherwise elucidated (like in Richard Hamming's Talk http://www.cs.virginia.edu/~robins/YouAndYourResea rch.html [virginia.edu] ) is that unless you can communicate your research with others, no matter how brilliant, it won't matter unless you spend as much time learning how to write up your findings as you do on the actual experiments themselves.

Re:From the summary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537109)

Knowing that you (and your colleagues)have discovered or observered something that nobody else ever has is something that is incredibly exciting.

that's because it's so rare that someone ever does that because most of it is incremental work building on what others have already done.

Re:From the summary... (1)

themysteryman73 (771100) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537118)

I'm more worried about the fact that 80 + 70 + 40 = 190%

Re:From the summary... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537224)

Why? The answers aren't mutually exclusive.

Re:From the summary... (1)

blackraven14250 (902843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537339)

Sweet, 190% of the population is right about something.

Is this really a problem? (5, Insightful)

nwbvt (768631) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536798)

"Among those who said they would not like to be scientists, reasons included... "because they all wear big glasses and white coats and I am female"."

Is it really a problem that this student doesn't want to go into science? For some reason I doubt she was in line to cure cancer anyways...

Re:Is this really a problem? (2, Insightful)

NoMoreNicksLeft (516230) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536827)

Yeh, we have so many blue collar jobs left for them.

On the flip side, we'll probably outsource all our science research to India too.

Re:Is this really a problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537133)

I think a creatively sarcastic answer questioning stereotypes like that indicates _exactly_ the kind of mind that makes a good scientist.

Re:Is this really a problem? (4, Funny)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537258)

We aboslutely need more female scientists. White lab coats and glasses are acceptable, but black fitted catsuits and stylish glasses are also acceptable.

Re:Is this really a problem? (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537277)

About 3 1/2 years ago, I was involved in a discussion with a coworker. She felt that the higher education system was biased against black people and women, especially poor ones and as a result black people and women had no chance to get ahead in America.

My response was that if you work your ass off and do well in High School, you can get a scholarship, get an education and make something of yourself.

Her response was that people who didn't get straight As couldn't get scholarships. I said to her that some people don't belong in college. Some people are better suited as tradespeople. If you just squaked through med school with Cs, I don't want you as a doctor. It doesn't matter what you are(color or gender); not everyone is suited to be a scientist.

If white coats and glasses are enough to deter you, go work at the makeup counter at your local mall. You were never going to be a scientist anyway.

LK

Yeah, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536820)

...you should have heard what the scientists had to say about teenagers.

Seriously. Who gives half a crap what teenagers think. Teenagers are powerless until they mature, and part of maturing is losing that teenage cluelessnes.

Re:Yeah, well... (5, Insightful)

Dogun (7502) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536910)

Part of maturing is also realizing that people were full of crap when they wrote you off as a teenager. Sometimes a 6th grader actually has a deeper appreciation for ethics than his or her instructor, or is entitled to an opinion that the author was actually being sarcastic in this essay, or that Steinbeck really was actually not all that talented, or that spending a full year on trig is a waste of time.

Polling youths can tell us some valuable things about the coming perceptions of society. It is doing the world a disservice to exclude them from voicing their opinions and participating in debate. In this case, kids aren't identifying with scientists, and perhaps that is something worth examining.

A year of trig (1)

ishmaelflood (643277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537027)

One of the biggest problems I face, as a designer of suspensions, is that hardly anybody can do 3d trig. Therefore, when asked to learn about multibody dynamics, there are few engineers available with the knowledge and confidence to do so. On the upside it guarantees that I will earn a hundred bucks an hour for consultancy work.

Re:A year of trig (1)

appleLaserWriter (91994) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537269)

One of the biggest problems I face, as a designer of suspensions, is that hardly anybody can do 3d trig. Therefore, when asked to learn about multibody dynamics, there are few engineers available with the knowledge and confidence to do so. On the upside it guarantees that I will earn a hundred bucks an hour for consultancy work.

Sure, but the classes you are talking about are upper division undergrad classes, not high school classes. I took Compiler Design and Statics at the same time. Statics was painful, and Compilers were fun and easy. I dropped the EE, and ended up getting a CS degree, then an MS in CS.

But do keep up the good bridge work. When your bridges fail, people die. When my compilers fail, well, people *expect* computers to crash :)

Re:Yeah, well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537284)

You're either:
  1. Whoring for karma from all the kids around here by stroking the shared delusion that all kids have
  2. A kid yourself
  3. An adult who's never grown out of his clueless kid-ness
I'm betting on #3.

It IS boring (4, Insightful)

martinX (672498) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536830)

After years of working in diagnostic labs (moderately interesting) I got my science degree, thought research was a good place to be and promptly got a job in a research lab. It is so boring. Months (and eventually years) to get a result. I got out and into web design.

I have nothing but respect for those who do research and do it well, but don't try and glam up research for the kids. It takes phlegmatic, methodical people to do it and stick to it. The flighty, can't-settle types should be in another field. Like web design :-)

Re:It IS boring (1)

ShyGuy91284 (701108) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536931)

Typically, yes. Unless you make some sort of major breakthrough or solve something important. I can't imagine a bigger rush then figuring something out noone else could, or creating something noone has ever seen/thought of. Although yes, a very small percentage of scientists will know that feeling. So I agree with you overall. Some Einsteins and Newton's exist, but unless you have the potential to reach their level, it will probably be boring.

Re:It IS boring (1)

linzeal (197905) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536957)

Kids need to know that r&d are not think tanks. Think tanks are where you go when you do well in r&d, imho.

Re:It IS boring (5, Informative)

SillyPerson (920121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536974)

You got into the wrong field. I worked for eight years in mathematics, and it was an exciting, wild, mad ride throughout. Non mathematicians will never believe this. I am still sorry I had to leave university, because I suck at the publish-or-perish game.

Now, do applications of artificial intelligence for business software. Quite exciting and new, and actually with more direct positive results, but not the rollercoaster ride of the olden days.

Oh, well...

Re:It IS boring (1)

jakuaii (410193) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537275)

You mean, applications of neuroevolution for games? Seems the hot topic du jour. Finally, bots with complex, non-deterministic, evolved behaviour...!

The University of Texas did this: http://nn.cs.utexas.edu/keyword?neuroevolution [utexas.edu] , game at http://nerogame.org/ [nerogame.org] . First you train your bots, then you test them in battle.

Re:It IS boring (1)

SillyPerson (920121) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537390)

Sorry to disapoint you, but my work is not for games. The company I work for does document management, and AI is used for sorting, routing, and data-mining.

Thanks for the interesting link , btw.

Re:It IS boring (2, Insightful)

NitsujTPU (19263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537086)

While I don't agree that research is at all boring (I've had an RAship for about 9 months now, that I'll be sitting in until I start my PhD), I must admit that society's approach to finding more researchers seems to be all wrong.

It's hard to discuss it without stepping on anyone's toes, and it's an emotionally charged issue for some, so, I'll reserve my rather harsh criticism of most modern programs.

Simply put. When I was a kid, I went to lectures at a particle accelerator, and they were cool. I liked programming. I thought that AI and robots were cool. Now, I work with AI, I've done work with robots (and want to do a lot more), and one of my advisors (I've got my hands in several projects) has multiple degrees, including a background in Physics.

The key, is to get kids those opportunities. Saying "computer science isn't for geeks anymore," is kind of akin to those commercials on the radio where kids say "I know that drinking and smoking aren't for kids." We all know that kids want to be more adult, right? The advertisers don't believe that those commercials will prevent kids from drinking. Do we really believe that "oh, you're not a nerd if you go into science" sends the message that we believe that? The people who believe that never even think to say that, or, if they do, say it in jest or fun (check out the Slashdot logo).

Re:It IS boring (2, Funny)

kumanopuusan (698669) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537236)

There goes my dream of getting out of web design and into research. ;-)

Career choice (1)

bobscealy (830639) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536833)

Among those who said they would not like to be scientists, reasons included: "Because you would constantly be depressed and tired and not have time for family", and "because they all wear big glasses and white coats and I am female".


You know, I am just fine with anyone who gives responses like this choosing another career.

Agreed ... (3, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536941)

I really don't understand certain geeks that try to make others like us.

Nietzsche was right, mediocres are necesary, and understanding that is part of being an intelligen person.

Discriminating is not a good thing, but thinking that we are all alike is even worse. We have to accept that we are all different, and that only a small group hsa been born to change the world, and the rest has been born to go to work and watch TV. It's when you learn to accept that fact, and stop being angree at others for being simpler than you when you really grow as a person, and can really focus on the important stuff.

NEWS FLASH (3, Insightful)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536838)

People are intimidated by intelligent people.

This means that for all intents and purposes, science is unpopular, it requires a lot of work to get good. Then you're too smart for your own good and you intimidate women so much they stay away from you. End result: Geeks get no dates, and science is unpopular. ...but then there's always alcohol.

Re:NEWS FLASH (1)

Legion303 (97901) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536852)

"Geeks get no dates, and science is unpopular. ...but then there's always alcohol."

And roofies.

The key is (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536986)

You need to learn how to act stupid. Sure, you go into some lab and do some really amazing work for science, and come out and act like a total doofus. Wait, what am I saying. That doesn't work either. I haven't done important work for science, but I've got the doofus part down. And women aren't falling over me. What am I doing wrong? ;_;

Oh dear, I've really lost it. I'm asking for advice about seducing women on slashdot.

Re:NEWS FLASH (2, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537038)

Then you're too smart for your own good and you intimidate women so much they stay away from you.

No, that one's a rationalisation to justify your own awkwardness with women. I know this will surprise you, but women are people too.

What the majority of young women want is pretty much what you'd expect - entertaining, interesting, confident and funny men. If you're intelligent as well, it'll be a bonus for them.

Re:NEWS FLASH (1)

ksheff (2406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537151)

You forgot rich. Intelligence is a bonus only if it enables you to get a high paying job. Doing interesting and fullfilling but low paying work at a university or science facility won't keep up with her spending habits.

Re:NEWS FLASH (3, Informative)

micheas (231635) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537172)

Read some of Richard Feynman's tales.

(probably the only member of the Manhattan Project to be commissioned to do a painting by a massage parlor.)

Geeks get no dates (5, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537200)

I think that the correlation between one and the other is rather false. Being smart does not exclude you from social interaction, sexual interaction, or relationships of any variety. Lacking in social graces does, and certainly some geeks do exhibit such traits, but I've never know somebody to be unpopular beyond say, high-school, just because he or she is following a geeky career.

Also, remember that there are both male and female geeks. For that geeky male scientist out there, perhaps an equally geeky female scientist, or vise-versa.

Of course, this way probably a joke anyhow, but really I find that the biggest problem many geeks have is that the tendency to have a superiority complex over their fellows.

Me, I'm a geek. I'm a smart, and skilled. I also associate with people from many walks of life, and won't jump to the conclusion that just because somebody went into massage-therapy, web-design, or plumbing that that person is any less valuable in life... well, except for maybe the web designers :-)

There is a bit of humour to this all too, of course... but really in many ways geeks are receiving great recognition overall. From the lab types in CSI to the computer hackers... we've been made cool in many days. Get down off your pedestols and associate with your fellow humans, and you might find they don't have any problem associating with you.

Re:Geeks get no dates (1)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537231)

Also, remember that there are both male and female geeks. For that geeky male scientist out there, perhaps an equally geeky female scientist, or vise-versa. Uhh... dunno if they'll ever get around to talking to each other though. Of course, this way probably a joke anyhow, but really I find that the biggest problem many geeks have is that the tendency to have a superiority complex over their fellows. This is the big sticking point I think.... that and the need to be "right" all the time I'll wager. Pretty useful skills in the lab, but not so great when dealing with common folk - who just want to bond rather than have a meaningful discussion (like this one). Just like intelligent women usually have to dumb themselves down to bimbo levels in order to attract men and not intimidate them, geeks have to do the same I think. The thing is, most intelligent people have a lot of interesting things to say - but come off all "high and mighty" that most ordinary non-geek people switch off very fast.

Truth is somewhere in between.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536843)

In the research organization I worked, the importance was given to creativity management. The days are gone when somebody brainy can sit in closet and dream about the universe. Experiments (results and analysis) have a lot of importance.

Creativity management allows everybody to participate in the decision making process how the experiment will be performed. Brainstorming, ideas extension and lot of techniques are put in action to bring more and more ideas on the table. Normal people might not know, how many small small details go in before an experiment is commenced.

The point I am trying to make is, it is a team effort and lot of credit goes to the people who create that healthy environment.

Re:Truth is somewhere in between.. (1)

sane? (179855) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537377)

Management by committee? You're suggesting this is an improvement, rather than reason there has been relatively little progress in fundamental ideas over the past decades? I'm sure Einstein would have valued your input.

Campaigning to get more people to study science... (2, Insightful)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536851)

...is useless. I mean, the only good campaign is one that shows what working in science is all about: doing boring repetitive work, surrounded by weird, very brainy people. OK, now I exaggerate a bit, but this is many a scientists' almost daily experience. I live in Holland and I have never seen a campaign for science that was to the point and appealing to the target group (young people of around 15 years of age who have to choose what type of work they wantto do). And I wonder: is this really so bad? People who fall for a 'Science is hefty fun!' campaign will most likely be extremely disappointed when they find out the real thing, and people who are already interested in a scientific career will study science anyway. And they are the best you can get. So in a way, campaigning will only get you people who are not really motivated and would be more useful to society in another job.

Re:Campaigning to get more people to study science (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536924)

I think the problem is that so often, a sense of exploration and experimentation gets hammered out of the education. If one has a science class that is restrictive and doesn't at least try to appeal to the interests, then it will get boring. It is dumb to just make lots of explosions.

The big breakthroughs are often done by people that think "outside the box", are willing to take risks, even though most of the actual work is boring. In the same way all entrepeneurs fail, all scientists fail, even using correct practices, but a good one will will learn from it and try again, generally from a different perspective until something works.

Re:Campaigning to get more people to study science (1)

tsa (15680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537060)

One thing that will help to get people motivated for a carrier in science is pay them a normal salary. I don't understand why my sister-in-law, who works for a pharmaceutical company basically selling stuff, earns about twice as me AND has a company car. I also know a few people who emigrated from Holland to Switzerland because they get better pay there.

It depends... (3, Insightful)

bjorniac (836863) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536868)

To an extent, it depends on which aspect science you are talking about. Experiments (and in particular fact checking/verification of data) can be laborious and a bore at times, but again sometimes during this process you detect something new. As a theorist there is a lot of banging ones head against a brick wall, or following tracks that lead nowhere, but also there are sometimes insights that set your mind ablaze and excite you so that you work on them until you realize it's 6am and you told your wife you'd be home at 5 the evening before...

A lot of science, yes, is repetetive due to the nature of statistics - you need a large sample if you're going to reliably claim anything. That said though, there are again exciting, nerve-wracking moments when the data comes in and you find out whether or not you've discovered something.

As for science being "just for the brainy" this a ridiculous statement. Science is done by people who have incredible insights into the world and people who slowly and methodically puzzle things out. What non-scientists don't seem to understand is that 99% of the time the scientist is just as confused as everyone else is, they just spend the time and effort to try to come to terms with things. I'm not saying that scientists aren't smart, but a lot of hyperbole scares the normal person away from spending a while as confused as the scientist was when he first thought about things and trying to piece together the way that it works.

Of course they're brainy people. (1)

mjh49746 (807327) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536912)

They do all the important work that all the common folk take for granted. imo, they really ARE in a class by themselves. For example, thanks to those that created the Intel 4004, and the evolution that followed afterwards, us nerds have some really powerful machines that sit on our desks and laps. Something that would've been unheard of back in 1971.

http://www.intel4004.com/ [intel4004.com]

Intelligence and Normality not Mutually Exclusive (3, Insightful)

Quirk (36086) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536926)

First there's the requirement to define normal. Measuring IQ, not a straightforward task, places highly intelligent people out on the tail of a bell curve, but many highly intelligent people are emotionally stable and vibrant.

There's a public conception that assigns eccentricities to highly intelligent people. From Disney's 'The Nutty Proffesor' to real life cases like Paul Erdös [wikipedia.org] , to the idea of genius and madness, recently portrayed in 'A Beautiful Mind'. I doubt there's any weighty corellation between high intelligence and eccentricity.

Reasoning toward rigorous, elegant and robust conclusions is just plain old hard work requiring a tool set that in itself is difficult to acquire.

Re:Intelligence and Normality not Mutually Exclusi (1)

xtal (49134) | more than 8 years ago | (#14536942)

I doubt there's any weighty corellation between high intelligence and eccentricity.

I take it you haven't done many post graduate science or engineering studies, then. :-)

The problem with an above average IQ (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537293)

Is that most other people seem stupid to you.

Simply put, things that to you seem stupendously obvious (conclusions/insights), for a lot of people are things they can hardly begin to understand.

The higher one's inteligence, the higher the percentage of stupid people the world seems to contain.

It's hardly surprising that those that are very inteligent, find inteligence the most important characteristic of people and cannot bring themselfs to explain things at a level that non-experts/non-genious can understand will project an image of eccentricity.

It's not unusual to find those people in the "protected confines" of a university science department.

Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14536992)

... it isn't that unpopular that the numbers of scientists are dwindling.. so.. umm.. settle down, k?

Also, cocks.

Damn! (4, Funny)

rscrawford (311046) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537019)

Next they'll find out that the jocks are getting all the girls, too!

I wonder if this isn't to be expected. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537049)

The enrollment drop mentioned at the end of the article might just be a reflection of a more prosperous society. Yes it's important to do science, to continue the endless probing of our world. We are beginning to live in a very comfortable environment, almost every necessity for life (food, water, shelter, etc.) can be guaranteed by a welfare state. After that's taken care of many are content just seeking entertainment. http://fermiparadox.tribe.net/thread/95e2f648-81ad -4db0-b4c2-54866799f0c9 [tribe.net]

Solving big puzzles has always been for a self-elected few that had the patience and education to do so. Science isn't for everyone, and the stigma placed on it isn't so terrible either. In fact I'm just happy so very many (70%) recognize scientists do 'very important work.'

Social skills partly to blame? (4, Insightful)

ChePibe (882378) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537097)

Don't get me wrong - I've met many fascinating, friendly, and sociable people in the various physical sciences. My old college roommate was a chemical engineering major who was the easiest guy to get along with and who explained many of the difficult concepts he learned in a way that a poor political science major, like myself, could understand. However, I'm sure many will agree, that a large portion of them are difficult to approach.

I don't chalk all of this up to their "superior intellect" as a few other posters have claimed. I consider myself to be a reasonably bright and sociable person. I think a great deal of it has to do with an inability to discuss topics of common interest outside of the sciences. Most people simply do not understand more advanced concepts in science, which is understandable - they have little incentive to. That said, most people don't understand the details and intricacies of other academic and professional disciplines. If I spent most of my time discussing the small differences between traditional realism and neo-realism, I wouldn't be a very interesting guy to hang out with, either.

The claims that people don't want to talk to scientists because they are "smarter" may reflect another problem - simple arrogance. In my experience this problem is, thankfully, limited to a small group. But it certainly can be a problem. No one wants to talk to someone who is secretly thinking, "I am so much smarter than this idiot who doesn't know the periodic table of elements backwards." I appreciate the contributions of those who work in the physical sciences, but for these reasons they can be a bit difficult to approach.

Define 'Normal' (3, Insightful)

Centurix (249778) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537120)

Being normal is overrated.

Re:Define 'Normal' (1)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537533)

Being normal is overrated.

Normal is a statistic.

meh (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14537165)

Easy to get young guys into science, tell them there's "goth cheerleaders" once they get up into the club and get a degree, in the "secret frat house parties"..

numbers game (1)

shpoffo (114124) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537230)

What percetage of the surveyed teenagers, demographically, go on to become scientists? If the answer is around 30% then that is the 30% who *did not* dissassociate themselves from scientists by saying that scientists were 'really brainy people.'

From the Article... (4, Funny)

Orrin Bloquy (898571) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537272)

"...after seeing beakers explode and million-dollar equipment destroyed by idiots, we've also come to the conclusion that normal people aren't for science, either."

where? (3, Funny)

SolitaryMan (538416) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537276)

...teenagers 'value the role of science in society, but feel scientists are "brainy people not like them".' This was according to a recent study by The Science Learning Centre in London
Well, yeah, so?

Sorry, couldn't resist... :)

Intellectual Pleasure (1)

r3tex (900024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14537402)

IMO, scientists are people that have found lifes intellectual pleasures to be highly satisfying.
With all the media focus on the physical pleasures of life like food, alcohol, and sex, many have a hard time understanding that some individuals choose devote so much time to something devoid of these things. I personally find it very exciting when our team makes a breakthrough, and it can keep me happy for a lot longer than if I were to score the most in a game of basketball with my friends.

Same thing with a relationship, what's the best part the sex or the love?
How about playing instruments, strumming the guitar on stage, or enjoying a beautifully composed progression?
Depending on who you ask, you get a different answer, same thing concerning science imo.

I _do_ think it takes a certain kind of person to appreciate and be truly creative in fields of science like mathematics and biology, just like it does in music and other fields. Just let the kids choose what they want to choose, we should give them all the possibilities in the world, but never try to induce them into "thinking" this way or another.
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