Dec 13, 2009
Don't get me wrong. I am not yet a scientist... but I do sincerely hope to be a scientist one day. One fine day. However, I feel the word 'scientist' is wrongly used many times especially in my country, Malaysia.
To me, a scientist is a person having expert knowledge of one or more sciences, especially in natural or physical science. The society grades a person whether he or she is eligible to be called a scientist by looking at his PhD title. I have come across a few occasions where these people admitted they were scientists. The inquisitive me usually would follow that statement with a question 'so, where did you do your PhD study?'. They usually ended up embarrassed because they didn't have PhD. I had no intention to embarrass them, because to my understanding that was the requirement to be called a scientist. Later, I felt bad about this and discussed with my husband, who happened to be someone with PhD, a postgraduate experience and vast knowledge in Biology. He agreed that a scientist should at least have PhD or MD degree. Not someone who graduated in science field during their undergrad studies. I was relieved... and I was right.
When I was in the elementary school, my impression of a scientist was a person who is as good as, or not better than Newton or Edison. At this age, I have agreed to lower the level to 'as long as the person has obtained a PhD, he is an eligible scientist'. I do not intend to lower the criteria further because to me, a scientist has always been a sacred symbol that should not be violated. And it would be an insult to those people who had tried very very hard to obtain their PhD and work in their dream job as a SCIENTIST.