Curious scientists

In my current out-of-the-classroom position I write science curriculum materials for use in early childhood classrooms. It is an interesting and challenging role, but also lots of fun as I work with a number of other writers who are also teachers, with an added qualification in science. As many of them have studied science at tertiary level, worked in various other fields, and taught science at high school level, I am surrounded by people with a lot of knowledge and experience different from mine.
One thing that is wonderful about working with a group of scientists is the range of topics that are raised for discussion around the table at lunch time. Scientists are naturally curious and they don’t take anything at face value. They delve into it, interrogate, investigate and explore until they have answers to questions that may have arisen. I learn a lot! Like the difference between degradable and bio-degradable; how close the asteroid came to Earth; and mitochondria, genetics and children with three parents!
On the home front too, I am surrounded by scientists; computer scientists and environmental scientists, each with a strong sense of social responsibility and ethics. I am fortunate to be swept along in learning by their interests and enthusiasm.
In previous posts I have shared some thoughts about the importance of curiosity and of my opinion that children are born scientists. I am always delighted when I come across something that supports my opinion. (Yes, there are others!)
I have recently discovered a lovely blog Musings of a Frequent Flying Scientist written by a local scientist Desley Jane. This week she shared an interview with another local scientist Julia Archbold. I enjoyed it so much I decided to share it with you.

These are just a few of things I like about it:
They are both young female scientists. (For too long science was seen as a male-only province.)
The importance placed upon curiosity, asking questions and ‘quizativity’ (what a great word!)
The excitement of learning.
That their engagement with science makes a positive contribution ‘the world’.

Please visit Desley’s blog to read the entire interview and explore what else she has to offer.

Thank you

Thanks for reading. I appreciate your feedback. Please share your thoughts about any aspect of this post.

Scientist SpotlightThis is my first interview for my Scientific Reasoning feature. The questions will be the same for each interviewee and I hope that they will give us some insight into the lives of a few of today’s scientists.


Dr Julia Archbold is a good friend of mine. We have known each other for many years and have worked together in the past in our twenties (ish). I admire Julia greatly, both as a scientist and as a person. She is warm and talented, with a quick wit and a very kind soul. She is about to embark on an exciting new adventure and I caught her just in time for this interview.

me: So I know you’re a scientist, but when did you decide to become a scientist? What were you thinking? (Not WHAT WERE YOU THINKING?!?! but what made you decide that science was going to be your future?)

Julia: I…

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15 thoughts on “Curious scientists

  1. Charli Mills

    Wonderful post, Norah! I think science is an extension of our innate curiosity. I’m thrilled more women are going into science careers, my eldest is one. One niece is studying to teach science and the other is an EMT, training to be a paramedic. She is “body” nerd, knowing the names of all the bones and how the body reacts to trauma. She teaches her own small children bone names and at 3 years old, my great-nephew knows more bones than I do! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      There are some clever women in your family, Charli. They have you as an excellent role model.
      What does EMT stand for? How clever is that 3 year old to know the names of the bones. What amazing memories they have! 🙂


    1. Norah Post author

      Hi Marylin,
      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience from the science fair. How wonder to see so many girls involved. Won’t it be great when the girls are equal, or more than, half? That day is probably not far away! 🙂


  2. clodge2013

    Hi Norah,
    I so agree with you about children being natural scientists. I know this from small people I have been close to over the years. I love exploring stuff, in the woods, on DVDs, in books with my grandsons. I am always amazed at how much (more than me) they know.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Pingback: Scientist Spotlight – Dr Julia Archbold | Versus Blurb

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks for the link, Anne. I wasn’t aware of George Kelly and personal construct theory. it sounds similar to discussions we have had about seeing the world as we want to see it, choosing the information that fits our world view and rejecting/ignoring/being oblivious to that which doesn’t. Is it similar to that?


      1. Annecdotist

        It’s a long time since I studied it, but I think it’s less about self-serving biases and more acknowledging that we all interpret our worlds according to a mindset that we’ve developed through various experiences over time. His repertory grid technique was a way of making that underlying mindset more explicit so that, if we wish, we might respond differently. Dorothy Rowe (a clinical psychologist working in England who grew up in Australia) used it in her work on depression, identifying ways that people were stuck in depression because of implicit assumptions they made about the world (e.g. it’s a simplification, but being good being more important than being happy) that, when brought to their attention, were potentially open to change. (So, in a way they had behaved like scientists, basing their judgements on their experience of the world, but not as good scientists as they could be as they hadn’t considered all the evidence.)

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Norah Post author

          Thanks for clarifying, Anne. I think I “get” it, but I’ll have to think on it a little more to distinguish them fully. Your explanation was great. I just need to separate them in my head. The name Dorothy Rowe sounds familiar but I’m not sure if it’s somebody else I am thinking of. I have read a few generalist books about psychology and mental health, but not for a good while now. I see the link you are making to science, though. It sounds like a great strategy: understanding the impacts upon decisions or attitudes and so being able to change those that are causing negative thoughts or inappropriate actions. I guess that maybe an important part of therapy?



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