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What proficiency would be considered paramount in scientific fields?

I understand that people in these fields need to be proficient in science and critical thinking, as well as curious. Can you tell me more about how these factors are used in your work, if at all? Which of these, if any, would you find most important for your line of work?

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kate’s Answer

Hello Javon,

Indeed, curiosity is a key trait for a future scientist, just as you mentioned! Other essential qualities include creativity, persistence, open-mindedness, and patience. As a scientist, you'll often find yourself conducting the same experiment multiple times to confirm and comprehend the results. These traits are not exclusive to science, but are valuable in various professional fields.

In the realm of science, being detail-oriented is crucial. You'll need to meticulously record your experiments and the different methodologies you employ. You'll be driven by a desire to solve problems, drawing inspiration from the world around you to do so. The most important thing is to engage in work that you truly enjoy. This passion will fuel your continuous learning and dedication.
Thank you comment icon Thank you so much, Kate, for your educated and thoughtful response! I feel passionate about beginning my journey through higher education and through new methodologies and skills. I am excited to learn a myriad of new things and will take your advice to heart throughout. I hope you have a great day and success in your endeavors. Javon
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Andrew’s Answer

Mathematics is the language of science and technology. Hence, proficiency and competency in mathematics is imperative for the pursuit of a successful career in the scientific fields. Mathematics is also an important agent in the development of critical and analytical thinking.

I concluded my career as a professor of mathematics. However, all my degrees, BS, MS, and PhD, are in physics. Therefore, I am confident to claim that proficiency in mathematics is paramount in scientific fields.
Thank you comment icon Wow! You have an amazing certification record! I am very appreciative of your informed and thought-provoking response! I will definitely have to improve my overall math skills, but with time, practice, and dedication, I hope to be as academically successful as you are! If not more! Thank you so much for your advice! Javon
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bill’s Answer

Embrace the world of Mathematics!
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Joseph’s Answer

This is a bunch of questions all in one. First, I'll try to answer how the proficiencies of "science", critical thinking, and curiosity are used in my work.

"Science" as a whole is very broad, and wraps together a whole range of different proficiencies. The most fundamental part of science is the application of the scientific method in terms of rigorously testing hypotheses; and this is of course critical in my role, and goes hand-in-hand with critical thinking - together, it's a mindset and general approach to work of not taking things for granted, always questioning, figuring out whether things make sense. Of course this is baked into my general approach to virtually everything I do, but a key example to point out is when I'm doing peer review and data quality checks of my colleagues work - I've got to be careful to think through the process myself, and try to spot anything that might not have been considered, and rigorously test any assumptions made, rather than just trusting the work to be correct.

There's also other aspects of science you're perhaps thinking of, like having subject-specific knowledge - this is also important, and in my line of work, I'm often using these. Of course I'm most actively using facts from quite a narrow subject area of nuclear physics, so I'll spare you the nitty-gritty detail, but there are a few more general science things like applying principles of inverse-square laws to do calculations - like the others have said, science is built on a framework of mathematics. A broader understanding of other scientific and engineering principles also has an important role in guiding how I think about things I'm working on.

Curiosity is of course another important proficiency, although it's often less clear how it gets applied in specific roles; it's more about the desire to learn all the deep intricacies of your subject area and keep improving your knowledge, which is a driving force behind science. In a way, it wraps into the scientific method too - curiosity stops us from just giving up and being content with a certain idea; it drives us to consider what might be around the corner and whether the theory will still work with new data.

As to which is most important, that's hard to say. Applying the scientific method is certainly the most fundamental, but many competences also have important roles to play, and I'll echo what the others have said about the importance of mathematics, too.
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