Field of Science

Everyone want to be a botanist

The Phactor operates with the idea that everyone wants to be a botanist, it just takes some people longer to figure that out than others. Quite a few people never figure it out. So it was a great pleasure to advise a student today that did figure it out, changing their major from medical information technology (that's a major?) to botany! This is a bit of a rare thing because the human biomedical tail constantly is wagging the biological dog in this country. In the great USA no one cares that botany is a greatly under-represented or ignored subdisipline, so much so that people in most other countries think our biology is greatly out of whack subject wise, and of course, they are right. A very Teutonic chair once said in exasperation, "Vhy you wouldn't be happy unless we hired botanists for half the faculty!" "That's right!" "Well, what would they teach?" "They'd teach cell biology, genetics, evolution, ecology, everything but zoology." And most of my colleagues would think such a thing just plain wrong, although it certainly is no problem having all those courses taught by animal biologists. And so it is quite refreshing to chat with a student who has come through many of those courses and still finds plants interesting. He mentioned that our introductory biology was terribly unbalanced (human biomedical approach) and that the instructors in cell biology seemed blissfully unaware of plants or what makes their cells different. This student was quite perceptive, and bright, and that does not surprise the Phactor because it takes a certain mental maturity and intellectual sophistication to appreciate things as subtle and surprising as plants. And when people finally reach that level, that's wthen they know they want to be a botanist. Don't agree? Don't understand? Oh, we do so understand why.

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