Do you need a PhD to be a scientist?

How does science work? And what's all this about quantum mechanics?

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Philosophy Explorer
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Do you need a PhD to be a scientist?

Post by Philosophy Explorer » Sun Mar 18, 2018 9:07 pm

Maybe more, maybe less.

I think that a demonstrated knowledge in the science involved is sufficient. What do you think?

PhilX 🇺🇸

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Re: Do you need a PhD to be a scientist?

Post by wtf » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:09 am

How do you define a scientist? Can you print up business cards that say you're a scientist? Of course. You can even hand out the cards at parties and bars in the hopes of impressing people.

You can convert a spare room into a laboratory and do experiments. You don't need a credential for that.

You could in theory even get a job as a university professor, if you happened to make an important discovery and you had acquired sufficient knowledge along the way.

Science Fan
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Re: Do you need a PhD to be a scientist?

Post by Science Fan » Mon Mar 19, 2018 3:26 am

The short answer is basically, this is correct, although in some areas, a person with a masters can be considered as a scientist, but typically, a scientist, is someone with either a Ph.D. or a doctorate.

It is also true that someone may have no degree at all, but have the equivalent knowledge. However, those cases are extremely rare.

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Re: Do you need a PhD to be a scientist?

Post by FlashDangerpants » Mon Mar 19, 2018 8:14 pm

There are various ways to be an amateur scientist. They don't exactly fit the blokes with big foreheads and white coats paradigm on tv, but they do some stuff.

Many of them plot trajectories of small objects in space (but AI has gotta be much faster than they can be). You might get a light in the sky that is visible only under magnification named after you. You shouldn't expect a Nobel prize or tenure at UC Berkeley though.

If you don't want to be pushed aside by our new computer overlords, you can use your own computer to build a meteorological station in your back yard and publish the data. Maybe somebody will use the data for science once you've collected some numbers.

Bird watchers, butterfly fondlers and mushroom hunters all get to be citizen scientists if they find a scientifically organised project to join.

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