Blog 7 – Extraordinary Scientists

Being surrounded by scientists is an incredible experience. They are exceptional human beings with many skills and characteristics. These are some of the amazing attributes that many scientists share. Read carefully. You may possess these qualities as well!

Scientists have a passion for exploration. They are intrigued by nature and their surroundings. They might develop a research question based on an observation they’ve made. It might be an inquiry that they cannot shake off and keeps coming back.

Scientists never give up. They are some of the most determined individuals I have ever met. If experimental conditions change, such as weather or interruptions with technical equipment, they adapt to changes to continue with their research.

Scientists know how to program. Computer programming competency is part of many Ph.D. programs’ prerequisites nowadays. It is necessary for you to interpret your own data using programs written in languages such as MatLab.


Scientists using various computer programs. From left to right: Tristan Biard, Marc Picheral, Dr. Mark Ohman, Dave Jensen, and Andrés Gutiérrez.

Scientists are hard working people. They can work non-stop night and day!

Scientists working throughout the night shift.


Dr. Mike Landry, Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Bellineth Valencia, Ph.D. Student.

Many scientists are bilingual or trilingual. On our ship, we can hear scientists speak their native languages. We have scientific representation from France, Colombia, Spain, Denmark, Germany, and the U.S.


Dr. Fanny Chenillat.

Scientists love to think. This is above all my favorite characteristic to observe. When there is a problem to be solved, scientists think, discuss, think, discuss, think, discuss, and they think and discuss! Sometimes there is quite a lot of silence but that silence has a purpose.


Silence in the lab. From left to right Dr. Ralf Goericke, Jasmine Tan, Marc Hafez, Maya Land, and Ben Whitmore.

Many people might have the misconception that science is a quick experiment where a procedure is followed and at the end there is a clear answer. This process may happen in some cases but when studying complex systems like our oceans there are too many factors to consider.


Scientists making decision. Ali Freibott and Bellineth Valencia.

The reality is that science is a process. Scientists may change their experimental procedures based on changing conditions or new questions they may have. Data collection and analysis may take months or years.

Doing a long term study such as the California Current Ecosystem-Long Term Ecological Research (CCE-LTER) requires much dedication. It allows scientists to compare data over long periods of time. This is very important because it can help us create models to make predictions about what will happen when there are changes in the environment.

Long term research like CCE-LTER is beneficial to us now but it will also give future scientists, like yourself, a library of knowledge to analyze how our beautiful oceans and life within it adapt to change.