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A Classification System For Scientists

A Classification System For Scientists

To the general public, scientists seem all seem pretty much the same. However, as someone who has studied these fascinating beasts up close I have found that there are in fact several distinct species within this genus.

In order to promote public understanding, I propose a classification system that groups scientists together based on exhibited behaviour and alterior motives, rather than using purely DNA-based criteria. Please note that all of the following still fall under the Order Primates, but have been re-classified in the newly created Family Academiae.

Scienticus intrinsica – This is the true scientist. It would happily run DNA gels for 10 hours/day in a windowless basement lab, if it thought that doing so would bring it closer to an ultimate truth. Its strength is in its passion and drive for the truth, but sadly this is also its weakness. When things go awry, it is far more frustrating for S. intrinsica than for other members of Academiae, and its personal life is likely to suffer. Generally it enjoys quick to eat food (i.e. simple cold cut sandwiches).

Scienticus meticulii – Often mistaken for its close relative S. intrinsica, the solitary S. meticulii would also happily run gels for long hours in an empty room. What differentiates it from similar species is its close attention to experimental detail, and its desire to complete every procedure perfectly. Unveiling hidden truths is not nearly as stimulating for S. meticulii as is completing a Western blot with perfectly rectangular black bands. It tends to eat diagonally cut peanut butter and jam sandwiches with the crusts removed.

Scienticus renaissancus – This is the most common species found in most educational institutes. Attempting a balanced life is important for S. renaissancus, although this is achieved to varying degrees. While it still considers precision and success in research to be important, it often suffers academically when competing directly with species that allocate most of their resources to work. Most are generalist eaters, but especially enjoy sit-down restaurants that allow for socializing.

Scienticus narcisster – Although also a hard-worker, S. narcisster aims mainly to see its name in publications as frequently as possible. It often takes on pieces of many projects, regardless of how easily it can complete them on time. It enjoys eating small cubes of cheese on toothpicks, while dropping the names of professors it has met at Stanford.

Poserum commonalis – At first glance, it is sometimes indistinguishable from members of the genus Scienticus. By befriending important members of its department, and putting in as much face time as possible with its superiors, P. commonalis is sometimes able to achieve a degree while also conserving most of its resources. Although it is far less skilled in academic work than its relatives, it can be equally successful if not more so. Like S. renaissancus it is a generalist eater, but tends to feed when others most require their assistance.

Since this classification system is still in its earliest stages, I am aware that further work will be required to fully describe this genus and I would be grateful for any input you may have. Are you, your colleagues or individuals that you have observed in the field sufficiently described within this system? If not please leave a comment providing details of classifications that you think would clarify the system further.


  1. tsa on December 12, 2007 at 12:29 pm

    The most common species these days was forgotten: Scienticus bullshitica. These individuals would do equally well as used car salesmen or Realtors. They have somehow found themselves in the wrong field, but because of their sharp skills in marketing and fast, smooth talking, they more than make up for their lack of critical thinking scientific reasoning skills and have become the dominant species in both academia and non-profit research institutions, where sadly, the trend has been that big bucks are more important than truth. They feed at fancy restaurants with a variety of other Scienticus spp.

  2. Lil on December 12, 2007 at 11:43 am

    I think I am Scienticus renaissancus… (I looooooove to eat!) 😉

  3. Terry on December 11, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    I would argue that to be any sort of scientist, you must have at least passed through the academic world…but like I said, the system is still in its early days and may require revision!

  4. Nick on December 11, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Some would argue that (us) industrial scientists are a different species altogether, but you are right – there is definitely a case for re-naming the family.

  5. Oh, I'm not a scientist? on December 11, 2007 at 6:04 pm

    …but have been re-classified in the newly created Family Academiae.

    Ummm, excuse me?

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