What is the likely future for scientists?

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popouillo's picture
popouillo
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What is the likely future for scientists?

Hi all, 

I just became a member of the network after watching the complete crash course, and I'm, as anyone astonished. 

I'm a young scientist working in biological sciences. I'd like to raise the issue of how important will different professions be in a not distant future, or, in other words, which professions do you think society could afford in the future. In that sense, basic science lives from government expends and I see not very unlikely that it could be cut in an economic failure scenario. 

As regards to me or yourself, what is your opinion on this? Have you thought of changing your job foreseen that the skills that you gain in it could be useless in the future economic system?

Best wishes for you all,

Luis Toledo, PhD.

Madrid, Spain

 

V's picture
V
Status: Platinum Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 14 2009
Posts: 849
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

They will likely go back to school get a degree in Economics an MBA go to work for a Fortune 300 company. Become disenchanted and start a website to tell people how screwed up the world is. LOL

In all seriousness a biological scientist should have no problems finding work, multinational corporations such as Monsanto and all the Pharmaceuticals will pay good money to get the results they want

V

Nichoman's picture
Nichoman
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Posts: 422
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

Luis...

Yes, there will be a need for scientists in the future.  

What will change is the emphasis toward results and real world value to future needs...versus bureaucracy and writing papers that show no utility.

That's where the upheaval will be...perspective from a 35 year Atmospheric Scientist.

It will take you many months to digest the magnitude of the changes that have just started.  

Use proven, scientific principles, they will help you...along with time...to adjust to this new era we are on the cusp of.

They will give you perspective and understanding.  Your question itself offer shows your still in the initial stages.   This happens to everyone.

All the best and welcome!

2 cents.

 

Nichoman

fandango's picture
fandango
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Joined: Jun 13 2010
Posts: 53
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

You appear to be in the shock phase....look at CM's "What should I do?  The basics of Resilience (Part I)"

http://www.peakprosperity.com/blog/what-should-i-do-part-i/42449

Like Nichoman stated it will take "many months to digest...", so start/keep reading the forums. 

Poet's picture
Poet
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2009
Posts: 1891
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

 

Well, maybe Epiphyte Ecologists become... Forest Herbalists... as we go down the energy cliff...

But that would not be immediate. Looking back upon history as a guide, we see that universities have been around for centuries - some of the earliest European universities were in Spain - and have survived religious persecution, wars, economic disasters, disease, famine, etc. In certain places of resilience and reverence for science, they will continue to survive if enough foresight and organizational strength is there.

What I suspect is that science will undergo great changes and scientists may have a drastically different role in society compared to today. Here are a few scenarios to guard against:

  • an anti-technology or religious-based backlash against science, perhaps violent
  • a decline in funding for science education and scientific research beyond the most practical applications
  • a civilizational decline or collapse may bring an end to learning and scientific advancement

Poet

 

 

Doug's picture
Doug
Status: Diamond Member (Online)
Joined: Oct 1 2008
Posts: 3158
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

I sincerely hope the sciences, particularly the biological sciences, do not come to a screeching halt.  My daughter, through no pressure from me, finished her first year of college studying biology, specifically forest health.  That would have been my first choice for her.  We live in the great eastern forests of the US that are being seriously, perhaps fatally, assaulted from ongoing waves of disease and bugs.  I look around my little woodlot and see the dominant species, sugar maple, threatened by the Asian longhorn beetle; second most dominant species, white ash, threatened by the emerald ash borer; beech trees threatened by beech blight; and butternut trees threatened by butternut blight.  The once dominant species throughout the east, American Chestnut, is largely gone and the American Elm exists only as small trees growing from roots for 10-20 years and then dying from Dutch elm disease.  Of course this is occurring in the context of what some scientists are calling the greatest extinction event since the dinosaurs died out.

There is nothing more fundamental to our living planet than understanding how the web of life functions and how to return it to its former health, if possible, or next best, stabilize it before we lose much of what brings sustenance and meaning to our lives.

Doug

LogansRun's picture
LogansRun
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Joined: Mar 18 2009
Posts: 1444
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

First:  Welcome!

Second:  As has been stated, you're at the beginning of a fairly long journey of "oh my God" moments.  It's not easy, but it's enlightening!

Third:  Your background will be needed immensely as the world evolves/morphs into what will be a very different life / future.  And if your specific science sector isn't needed, the processes that you've learned and honed over time, will very much be needed in the difficult (but exciting) times ahead.  Scientists are taught to break issues down and investigate, then find solutions in mostly very methodical ways.  I don't know of many other areas of education that adhere to those standards.  And if it makes you feel any better, our host (CM) is a scientist.  He's been able to use that knowledge, training, thought processes into what you've found here!  Thank God for that!

Cheers! 

popouillo's picture
popouillo
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Joined: Aug 8 2010
Posts: 2
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

Hi all, 

Thank you all for your responses. I must say I have a strong stomach in what digesting all this regards, since I opened my eyes to real geopolitical rules and how things work out there already some years ago. I need to read in order to understand all these much deeper than I do now.

I have though a background in chemistry and biochemistry so I'm quite familiar with the concept of energy, and I can see crystal clear that we're living in a 'human bubble'. Unimaginable amounts of oil has been used during the last hundred years to make us possible to overpopulate the earth, and as Chris very efficiently explained, whereas that has allowed us to grow, we can't expect also to have prospered if it's not by using resources in an unsustainable fashion. Now that resources will shrink, either we shrink with them or we manage to adapt our way of life to a different concept of prosperity. 

I love nature and I suffer just by seeing concrete, the greed that we're educated in and the unjustified comfort that we depend on. This is going to be a hard task to share, since even in my closest circle, which is supposedly that of educated and objective brains, I barely get back anything but skepticism. Even a 40 year old scientist (who I must say though, I consider to lack 99% of the common sense and eye to understand anything that takes place out of a cell) has told me: you should read blabla book, and you will know that the world is not in such bad condition, it's all a product of crazy environmentalists. Whatever.

I very much appreciate your welcoming to the community, and I hope to talk to you guys often.

Best,

Luis

SteveW's picture
SteveW
Status: Gold Member (Offline)
Joined: Jan 21 2010
Posts: 490
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

Welcome popouillo. The world needs biologists as much or more than physicists and engineers. As a retired molecular geneticist I feel that if only biology had advanced to its current level earlier in history we might have used farmed sources of energy rather than drilling for it. However the world is what it is and biologists certainly know about the problems of population pressure. I think ecologists and biological engineers will be in high demand and a background in biochemistry is clearly valuable in this respect.

I know the impact of the crash course can be overwhelming. In addition to any personal preparation I suggest you might think about how you could use your expertise as a cottage enterprise if things really go badly. For example if you could brew up motor fuel in your backyard that would be an asset.

Wendy S. Delmater's picture
Wendy S. Delmater
Status: Diamond Member (Offline)
Joined: Dec 13 2009
Posts: 1988
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

Welcome Luis.

You asked if anyone changed their career. I did. I'm a heavy construciton safety engineer, or was. I quit my job near NYC  to marry a wonderful man who also happened to be a "prepper" (what we call ourselves as we become resillient and work toward a sustainable future.) I now live in South Carolina and am a full-time homemaker with a huge square-foot garden and a house we've taken as far off the grid as we can get. We're suburban, but in a low population density area. I might go back to work: I'd like to, but the construction industry has been devestated.

My move was made intelligently, looking at the facts. I've seen what the NY Metro area looks like in a bad recession and I did not want to go there. I consider every fruit tree and canning session insurance. I'm not a homesteader or a survivalist: I'm just pragmatically looking at what's coming down the pike and taking appropriate small steps.

You'll get a lot out of this site. Lots of smart folks here, from a huge variety of backgrounds, and things stay positive. Thanks for joining: I think you'll like it here.

Safewrite

 

 

 

jumblies's picture
jumblies
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Joined: Jun 13 2010
Posts: 244
Re: What is the likely future for scientists?

I would think you'll be fine. However, I would suggest getting some more practical life skills if you don't already have them. Things such as growing food (vegetables, animals etc) so that if the food supply becomes constrained then you have a chance of growing it. I'd also suggest basic building/maintenance of shelter including plumbing, because if your local hardware store is closed and you can't call a handyman it would help if you can do these things yourself.

Of course there's applying these skills, so actually growing food etc, but there's plenty of postings about this.

I'm in a similar position to you (I'm a techie) and I've realised that outside of my field I have next to no practical skills. My intention is to do some basic courses and try to apply/practise them as soon as possible.

 

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