Posted by: arrogantscientist | January 7, 2009

This Blog, Me and My Aims

I am currently in my second year of studying for a PhD. I work mainly with Drosophila melanogaster, messing around with their DNA and RNA.

I started this blog mostly for my own benefit – an important part of being a scientist is being able to explain what you do to the lay public, and this is my way of practicing. I also agree with the idea that you only know if you really know something when you try and explain it to someone else. Doing this forces me to do background reading I may have tactically relegated to desk-levelling material.

My other motivation is I feel science has a hell of a lot to offer to everyone – what the word “science” covers is  absolutely vast , and a lot of it is really interesting. The majority,  however, is hidden from the majority. Behind lab doors in the hands of scientists that don’t just consider that an esoteric journal isn’t the only place to show their work. Depressingly often, what the public do get to see is the media-filtered, watered down version of science with emphasis on perceived or over-hyped controversies. They never get to see what a scientist does day to day, how they think, or why they think their bizarre area or freaky organism is so amazing.

What can I do about this? Obviously it’s limited – I only graduated just over a year ago. But in that time, I have amassed a library of images of my work, which in their own right are visually and scientifically interesting. Only a subset of this make it into reports or presentations I produce, and the audiences for this are exceptionally limited (no further than other academics). It seems to me that it is a huge waste to horde these pictures on a hard drive where no-one will ever see them.

My aim here is to show the images I have already, and any I produce in the future, related to my work and not, hopefully to impart upon others the sense of wonder I get looking at the world under a microscope.

Don’t let my name fool you into thinking I’m not a nice person, it is essentially (in my view) a parody. Some scientists may sound arrogant, but the world of science-arguments is very different to “pop-arguments”. Scientists tend to be objective – they don’t tend to make personal arguments, and even relish the chance to have their ideas contested by others. Generally, they don’t wade into arguments when they don’t know what they’re talking about, preferring ones where they can speak with confidence.

I do have some strong personal views on what are non-controversial issues in science, but are politically charged in real life. For example, religion, evolution, the paranormal and the thing I hate the most – faith. As a scientist I never have “faith” in anything – I have the best view I can based on the available evidence, but never faith that something is correct or present without evidence. And then I will test that view, no matter who’s opinions it goes against, even my own. Essentially, I believe (with the weight of the whole of science behind me) that a scientific philosophy is the only really fulfilling way to live, and understand, your life.

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A note on my pictures and articles – please do not reproduce these anywhere else without my explicit permission, which I will likely give if asked. Please respect the fact I have put time and effort into producing them. All the pictures are my work, unless otherwise stated.

Contact: arrogantscientist@googlemail.com

(This post is a copy of what is on my “About” page)

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Responses

  1. Dear arrogant scientist,
    I’m presenting a class project on a fly cross I performed (bar eye X wingless). May I have permission to use some of the great photos you have taken? The presentation is only for my lab class…
    Thanks,
    Anna

  2. Sure, feel free.

  3. Thanks!

  4. I am doing the same thing as Anna, except my project is on yellow bar/ wild. may I use the photos, as well?

    thanks!

    Emily

  5. Go ahead 🙂

  6. thanks thanks 🙂


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