Because #ScientistsArePeopleToo

Posted on November 24, 2018

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What makes a scientist? Curiosity, a passion for learning, a desire to know how the world works!

Why is it that so often in pop culture scientists are portrayed in a negative way? It’s rare that movies or TV depict three-dimensional images of scientists. Often, we are left with the feeling that scientists are mostly arrogant megalomaniacs set on controlling the world. Admittedly, there are exceptions – the 2015 movie The Martian is an example; and the characters in CTV series The Big Bang Theory may be quirky, but they are fun, normal (mostly!) and positive.

One problem is that most people have little contact with real, working scientists. With this in mind, Ag-West Bio developed a series of short video vignettes that showcase five Saskatchewan scientists.

In the videos, the scientists have a chance to talk about their work and what they love about science; but the focus is on the fact that they are ordinary human beings – with families, pets and hobbies. The videos capture the uniqueness of each scientist’s personality.

Meet the scientists:

Kate Congreves, a plant scientist at the University of Saskatchewan who grew up on a hobby farm in Ontario. She says scientists can be heroes! She loves everything about her job – and reading, long walks, cats and yoga!

Mark Smith, a scientist at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. He is a plant scientist – working on Camelina sativa – a healthy oilseed crop. And he's dad to little Princess Jessica, who loves dinosaurs and reading!

Melissa Arcand, a scientist at the University of Saskatchewan who grew up on Muskeg Lake Cree Nation. Curiosity (and good, old-fashioned hard work) can turn a dirt-loving kid from Northern Saskatchewan into a soil scientist. Melissa loves science and soil – and she rides a bike all winter in Saskatchewan!

Tim Sharbel, Research Chair in Seed Biology at the Global Institute for Food Security, University of Saskatchewan. He's passionate about developing better agricultural crops. He thinks of his research team as family. Tim loves to mountain bike and rock climb – and he's really good at Ultimate frisbee!

Tyler Wist, an entomologist (an insect scientist) working at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Saskatoon. Tyler loves trying to figure out what eats what in the bug world, so he can help farmers protect their crops. Some of his favourite things? Biking, sci-fi movies (Alien!) and teaching his three daughters about creepy crawly critters – and how to play soccer.

The videos were unveiled during the Saskatchewan launch of 2018 Global Biotech Week to an audience of 75 at a luncheon at Innovation Place. They are posted on Ag-West Bio’s YouTube channel, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.

This video series is meant for the public, especially secondary students and teachers. With the wide range of personality types included in the video, students will relate to one of them – and maybe even see themselves as scientists. And even if they don’t decide to pursue science as a career, hopefully they will understand that scientists are just regular people who have chosen to do so.

Please click the play list at the top left corner to choose from the five #ScientistsArePeopleToo videos: