Social Science Is For the Asocial?

18 April 2011 at 4:44 pm 7 comments

| Lasse Lien |

I went to a physics seminar the other day. The presenter, an eminent astronomer, made the following remark as he was trying to convey what it was like to work in the natural sciences:

If you hate people and would prefer to do most of your work alone in your office, you should join the social sciences. If you love people and would like to work closely with many others in large research teams, you should join the natural sciences.

The paradox is just beautiful. You self-select to the social sciences because you hate people and want as little as possible to do with them.

Entry filed under: - Lien -, People. Tags: .

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7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mtraven  |  18 April 2011 at 4:52 pm

    Perhaps it’s only the people who are socially maladjusted who are going to be sufficiently aware of social phenomena to take them as an object of study. Most fish don’t feel a need to study water.

  • 2. Peter Klein  |  18 April 2011 at 9:32 pm

    Does this mean that natural science is for the unnatural?

  • 3. Lasse  |  19 April 2011 at 12:15 am

    LOL. You may be right Peter, and entrepreneurship is surely for those without judgement ;-)

    mtravens fish analogy is a bit problematic for the astronomer (who was in the universe, I think).

  • 4. Ted Craig  |  19 April 2011 at 8:30 am

    This was always my biggest beef with The West Wing. No Nobel winning economist has the social skills to become president. Even the ones with media savvy, like Friedman or Krugman, couldn’t do it.

  • 5. David Hoopes  |  19 April 2011 at 1:59 pm

    I know a lot of scientists. And they have more than their share of people with very low social IQs. It’s laughable that a physicist would accuse social scientists of being asocial.

  • 6. Jon Mote  |  19 April 2011 at 2:48 pm

    I second David. I’m a sociologist turned business professor who does a lot of research in R&D and research organizations. More often than not, the folks I interview are very socially maladjusted.

  • 7. William Sjostrom  |  20 April 2011 at 10:02 am

    Remember the difference between an introverted scientist and an extroverted scientist. When he is talking to you, the introverted scientist looks at his feet, but the extroverted scientist looks at your feet.

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