46 Questions

Humanizing Science by Highlighting Those That Do It


What is our mission?

Scientists* are characterized over and over again by the same few stereotypes: that we’re anti-social, disinterested in society, and work-obsessed. But these negative stereotypes are harmful on so many levels. They feed into negative ideas of science and scientists and actually influence how messages are received outside of the scientific community. The narrow presentation of scientists as being only from certain genders, races, backgrounds, and career trajectories also influences who enters STEM fields, and who stays there. We know how important representation and inclusivity are, and we want to broaden the heck out of them in our field.

We here at 46 Questions want to elevate the voices of underrepresented peoples in science-oriented careers and to foster a sense of community in the sciences. We want to showcase the diversity that makes us strong and to make scientists more relatable at the same time, both to the rest of the world and to each other. How? Easy: we hit scientists with 46 rapid-fire questions, they answer, and we share the results. It’s quick, painless, and hopefully fun!

*Who is a scientist?

We view a scientist as simply anyone who participates in doing science, whether that be a government employee, a field or lab technician, a PI (professor) at a university, a graduate student, or an employee at a non-profit. We don’t  prescribe to the ‘Ivory-tower’ ideals of science: anyone who is asking and answering questions about the natural world around them is a scientist in our eyes! (:

Why 46?

This is a nerdy answer: we needed to come up with a number of questions, and there are 46 chromosomes in the human genome. So why not?

Why are our questions so broad?

We want to illustrate that as people we have a lot in common across scientific fields, career paths, and backgrounds. We want to celebrate the diversity of life experiences that make up our scientific community. And, we want to show our humanity as scientists: our whole life is not just work, and our worth is not the sum of our accomplishments.

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