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A Community of Rambunctious Scholars Celebrating People
Who Have Made Lifesaving Discoveries And Encouraging
Students and Politicians to Read 1000 Science Stories! Quotes

Below are the types of questions we like to ask scientists. Browse them for ideas about what to cover in your own contributions. Scientist Questionnaire

Thank you for taking the time to answer our questions. Naturally we would prefer that you answer them all, but we fully understand that you may wish to skip one or two.

Questions about Your Revolutionary Discovery

Please provide (in layman’s terms where possible) a summary of your discovery.

Describe the process of gaining the primary insight that led to your discovery.  Did it occur in an instant, on a specific day – or did your insight unfold over a period of time?

At the time of your major scientific discovery, did you realize the immense worldwide impact it would have?  If not, when did you realize its impact?

If any, list those individuals whose contributions were essential to your discovery, contributions without which you would not have made your discovery (include email addresses if possible).

List those individuals whose contributions furthered the development of your discovery – administrators and workers who, while providing no crucial insight, helped further your work.  (include email addresses if possible).

How would you describe the response of the scientific community to your discovery?

How would you describe the response of the general public to your discovery?

Questions about Your Personal Scientific Career

What youthful experiences motivated your career in science?  Was there a family example or expectation?

When did science first spark your imagination and arouse your passion?

What was your favorite science subject in high school?
What were your very first jobs – how did they impact your scientific career?

Did you have a mentor?

Has there been a profound or moving occurrence in your science career?

Can you share an unusual anecdote or humorous story from your scientific career?

What's the coolest thing about your work – what excites you the most?

What’s the most important aspect of your work?

Who is your scientific hero - why?

What is your favorite science book and why?

What do you consider to be your greatest scientific accomplishments?

Questions about the Current State of Science

What would you change about the way science is taught from elementary school through the university level?

What excites you about the current direction of scientific research and discovery? 

What concerns you?

Philosophical Questions

If you were driving the length of the Blue Ridge Parkway, stopping at many overlooks to view the scenes and talk, what two famous people would you like to accompany you, and why?

What is the most meaningful experience in your life and why?

Can you share an unusual anecdote that occurred in your life?

If you are religious what role does it play in your personal and professional life?

You are one of the brightest people on earth. What two things would you recommend to the public?

Questions from The Edge

The is a most interesting website ( Each year they ask leading intellectuals, professors, and scientists one question, and then post their answers on their website. Please answer one or more of their questions listed – we’ll publish your responses on and it’s likely The Edge will publish them on their site as well.

The Edge Annual Question — 2008
What have you changed your mind about? Why?
When thinking changes your mind, that's philosophy.
When God changes your mind, that's faith.
When facts change your mind, that's science.
Science is based on evidence. What happens when the data change? How have scientific findings or arguments changed your mind?"

The Edge Annual Question — 2006
What is your dangerous idea?
The history of science is replete with discoveries that were considered socially, morally, or emotionally dangerous in their time; the Copernican and Darwinian revolutions are the most obvious. What is your dangerous idea? An idea you think about (not necessarily one you originated) that is dangerous not because it is assumed to be false, but because it might be true?

The Edge Annual Question — 2005
What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?
Great minds can sometimes guess the truth before they have either the evidence or arguments for it (Diderot called it having the "esprit de divination"). What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?

The Edge Annual Question — 2004
What is your law?
There is some bit of wisdom, some rule of nature, some law-like pattern, either grand or small, that you've noticed in the universe that might as well be named after you. Gordon Moore has one; Johannes Kepler and Michael Faraday, too. So does Murphy. Since you are so bright, you probably have at least two you can articulate. Send me two laws based on your empirical work and observations you would not mind having tagged with your name. Stick to science and to those scientific areas where you have expertise. Avoid flippancy. Remember, your name will be attached to your law.

The Edge Annual Question — 2001
What Questions Have Disappeared?

Less Puzzling Personal Questions
Tell us about your family life growing up.  Who were your parents and siblings, and what was special and/or challenging about your childhood?

Tell us about a nonscientific hero who has inspired you.

Please share one or more of your favorite quotations with us - why is it significant to you?

What is your favorite place you have traveled to?

What is your favorite book or author – why? 

What is your favorite magazine/journal/periodical - why?

What is your favorite artist/music/movie - why?

What are some of your non-scientific interests and activities?  What do you do for relaxation?

Our Friends & Family Know Us Best

A unique feature of our website will be a collection of anecdotes of individual scientists from people who knew or worked with them. While possibly only a small proportion of people truly understand and appreciate the details of science, most people find science stories and anecdotes fascinating. Please provide us with the email addresses of relatives, colleagues and friends we can contact who might add a humorous or serious anecdote about you.

Now for some more Mundane Questions

Your mailing address (work):
Your phone number (work):
Email (work):
(This information is for our records only, and will not appear on the site)

Background Information:

Date of Birth (mm/dd/yyyy):
Birthplace (city, country): 
Your parents and siblings names:
Current residence (city, country):
Current position:
Children, including year of birth:

Academic and Professional Experience: (Curriculum Vitae may be attached in lieu of completing this section)

Academic History:
Career Appointments and Positions:
Key Publications related to your remarkable discovery:
List of all Publications:
Awards / Prizes:

Finally, A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

We’d love to provide the public with photographs or video of you on the website. We’re especially interested in recent photos and past photos of you at work at the time of your discovery – we’d also like to see images of you with your colleagues (at work or play) and of you with your family. If there are any videos of you on the internet, could you provide the link?

Thank you for your answers. Lots of people will enjoy your stories and you may well inspire a student to become a scientist!