What science is, from a freshly-minted scientist

By Phil Plait | June 1, 2010 2:00 pm

Eric Schulze just received his doctorate at the Keck School of Medicine. Asked by his colleagues to give a commencement address, he opted to discuss the things he should’ve been taught about science when he started out. His speech is an excellent introduction into why we need more gifted speakers talking about what science is and isn’t:

At 3:20, he quotes an "eminent cosmologist [sic; the man to whom Eric is referring is actually more of a general astronomer-type and smart ass] and teacher". I’m very sure the man to whom Eric is referring is grateful.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Piece of mind, Science

Comments (17)

  1. Bill the Cat

    Great video, I just wish that they discovered a tripod instead of letting the Blair Witch crew film the thing, it was a little sickening.

  2. You just happen to quote someone who quoted you.

    Oh by the way.


  3. Phil, you are getting famous. You’ve been quoted!!!

  4. Teshi

    “Cosmic ocean”. A Sagan reference in there as well?

  5. jcm

    WFT. The video’s not loading!

  6. robinpa

    “to revel in our inquisitiveness and delight in our lack of knowledge…because no matter how much we learn, we also know there is so much more to the story”

    “to know that we are simultaneously both wildly insignificant and important”

    That’s some pretty cool stuff…I remember when I figured that out for myself…”the bell that cannot be unrung” indeed!!

    Thanks Phil…very inspiring stuff…I just showed it to my daughter and she gets it!

  7. Joe Jance

    Somebody shut that baby up!

  8. MadScientist

    Wow – a genuine Doctor of Medicine – that’s pretty rare.

  9. Cobey

    Whoa he really got me there in the end……whoa

  10. I know it’s tradition ‘n stuff, but I can’t help hearing the echoes of the “science is a religion” sorts while watching someone wearing a fancy-looking robe stand at a pulpit and talk about how science is losing its influence in society. I should probably eat some breakfast.

  11. To me, a “freshly-minted scientist” is a kid who plays in the mud for the first time (or looks at the night sky, or flies a kite, what have you).

  12. mo

    Video isn’t loading. Finally, new blood in science. Go get’em.

  13. RAF

    That is a great quote.

  14. knobody

    hey, isn’t that where pzed gave a commencement speech last year? i recognize the tent and backdrop.

  15. Eric Schulze

    Hey All, That’s me in the video speaking. Thank you so much for your words of encouragement. I truly appreciate it. I have been wanting to give that speech for a while. I always speak about my research, but I wanted to speak about what Science means to me.

    Mo – I will. With pleasure.

    knobody – Yes. I invited him. Same place. Sorry for the video quality. We’re working on an A/V budget!

    Joe Jance – I couldn’t agree more. Very distracting to hear while speaking.

    robinpa – I hope your daughter never grows out of being a scientist. Kids are the best at asking why.

    Thank you again. If you like it, I encourage you to share it with others.


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