Conditions and Aspects of the Scientific Profession


    THE summer number of the Scientific Worker includes an account of an investigation of the profession of science which the Association of Scientific Workers is undertaking. The inquiry covers the methods of entry into the scientific profession and the actual conditions and economic aspects of the profession. The plan of research is designed to include a study of undergraduates in science departments and a study of practising qualified scientific workers. The former will endeavour to discover the factors which determine the decision to take a university course, the choice of university and course of studies and the extent to which vocational wishes influence these problems. The second will cover three groups of men of science—chemists, physicists and biologists—and will be directed to discover the objective conditions of scientific employment and the attitude of men of science to scientific training and employment. These studies will cover the training for and obtaining of scientific posts, the conditions of scientific employment as well as the tenure of posts and incidence of unemployment. The studies on attitude will embrace attitude to university, to employment and to the main types of professional associations. It is hoped that the results obtained will provide data upon which policy for the regulation of the scientific profession can be based and also indicate how the practice of science in industrial firms affects the development of industry as well as possibilities in the application of science to industry.

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    Conditions and Aspects of the Scientific Profession. Nature 144, 320–321 (1939).

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