Nieuws - 27 mei 2019

Blog: ‘Meet the real scientists’

Kaavya Raveendran

Scientists are smart, geeky and kind of antisocial. Based on her experiences during her master’s thesis, blogger Kaavya Raveendran realised these are nothing but stereotypes. She proposes to redefine the science enthusiasts.

© Sven Menschel

There may be many defining characteristics for the people, or more appropriately, researchers involved in the field of science. Super smart, kind of antisocial, geeky, with strong interests, highly patient, humble and the list goes on. Most of this was also validated (thanks to the Big Bang Theory). Doing my master’s thesis put me on the map as an entry level newbie researcher who is new to all the awkwardness and the supremacy of knowledge. Now, almost 2½ months down the line, I realise those are nothing but stereotypical expectations that one attaches to science and its people.

I entered not exactly knowing what to expect, but now I can safely say that I got some big-big surprises, which not only broke my dormant expectations but also made me say: ‘Man, these people are super cool!’ Now with what I have seen, I want to redefine the enthusiasts of science and break the stereotypes once and for all.

It is one thing to be smart – loaded with knowledge of the subject, fully up to date with current trends and with an immediate answer to almost any question. But these researchers take it to an entirely different level. They are not just smart; they are witty. If you want to see it for yourself, try having a small talk with one of them; you’ll be cornered with snappy comebacks so soon, that you won’t even realise when it happened. Can’t blame them; their brains work way faster!

Then there come the hours after work. Most people think scientists are socially awkward and shy away from “such events”. But oh boy, you should see them at a party. They are probably the ones keeping the party alive. Dancing, drinking and of course singing along with iconic songs are just a few things that you can spot them doing. Did someone say ‘anti-social’? I really don’t think so!

It may be a super gloomy day with super dull weather, but that doesn’t stop these researchers. They are still as bright as sunshine and super fun to talk to. They keep everyone engaged and put you at ease in an instant. I still remember how nervous I was before my first meeting with my supervisor (’cause hello – years of experience), but it was so much easier than I thought. The thing to note here is that, even though their knowledge is intimidating, their humility is welcoming.

And finally, I want to talk about the culture that these amazing, cool people bring to the field itself. They treat science like a very healthy sport. They help, support and encourage each other. The environment they create is so addictive that you really want to be in it, just because it pushes you positively towards betterment. Ever since I have started my thesis, I have had to speak with multiple people, experts and facility arrangers, and never have I ever been able to arrange things so easily. Everyone, I repeat: everyone, immediately agreed to help in any way they could , even though they might not get anything in return. So for me, science has now become all about kindness. I don’t know if it’s the quality of WUR or a quality that these amazing people bring to the field, but this vibe resonates across beautifully and is always a defining characteristic for me.