One think that often seems to come up in discussions of science or the work of scientists is the idea that we are, well, all like this. There’s the underlying assumption that all we care about and think about is data. Sure, the vast majority of us are nerds and geeks to a greater extent (we are, after all, professional scientists, it’s our *job* to spot errors and know and understand science) but that doesn’t mean that this is all we are, or more importantly, that there is no artistry in science.
This for me was brought home by comments on a piece about my UV work. People (understandably) find it hard to adjust to the idea that many theropods were feathered and want their mind’s eye scaly dinos ‘back’. We are to blame for doing, well, science and showing this is not true. OK, so the comments were obviously tongue-in-cheek and no actual criticism was being leveled at the research, but what I find odd is that the scientists themselves are never put in this bracket.
*I* find it weird to think of thinks like tyrannosaurs and even oviraptorosaurs and dromaeosaurs with feathers. I find it really, really strange that when I feed the ducks on the canal by my house that these are actually theropods. I *am* feeding dinosaurs. For real. That’s *strange*. I work on dinosaurs and feathers and the transition to birds and it still regularly fries my brain that there are dinosaurs everywhere I look flitting from tree to tree.
In short yeah, we are scientists. But trite and obvious though this is to my audience here, we are people too. And there can be some real art and poetry in science from awesome looking photographs to beautifully crafted taxonomic names and descriptions. I just wish a few non-scientists would credit us with not being automatons on occasion.