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19 Words That Mean Something Totally Different When You're A Scientist

Let's experiment with some models.

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1. "Theory"

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What it means to most people: A hunch or conjecture.

What it means if you're a scientist: An entire system of well-substantiated and testable ideas that explain something about the natural world.

2. "Chemist"

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What it means to most people: Where you go to buy cough medicine when you're feeling under the weather.

What it means if you're a scientist: A person who wears lab coats and blows things up (sometimes on purpose).

4. "Model"

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What it means to most people: A person employed to display clothes by wearing them, or pose for a photographer or artist.

What it means if you're a scientist: Something that represents a phenomenon or physical process; a simplified version of reality.

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5. "Theoretical physicist"

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What it means to most people: A scientist who spends a lot of time thinking very hard and frantically writing on blackboards.

What it means if you're a scientist: A machine for turning coffee into theorems.

8. "Sign"

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What it means to most people: Whether you're an Aquarius or a Taurus and what that all ~means~.

What it means if you're a scientist: Whether something has a plus or a minus in front of it.

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9. "Error"

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What it means to most people: A mistake.

What it means if you're a scientist: How far something deviates from the true number. As in, "nice error bars you have on that histogram".

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16. "Organic"

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What it means to most people: Pesticide-free, additive-free, "natural".

What it means if you're a scientist: Literally anything that is or comes from living matter.

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17. "Experiment"

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What it means to most people: What you do at university with drink, drugs, and/or other people.

What it means if you're a scientist: What you do at university with chemicals, Petri dishes, and/or very expensive pieces of equipment.

18. "Paper"

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What it means to most people: Thin sheets of material made from the pulp of wood from trees.

What it means if you're a scientist: The unit of measurement for your worth as a scientist.