Most valuable trait for a scientist or engineer?

In summary, when discussing the most important character trait for a successful scientific or engineering career, the conversation highlights several key qualities. These include humility, perseverance, curiosity, commitment to the scientific method, comfort with mathematics, imagination, honesty, and working well with others. However, the most commonly mentioned traits are curiosity, creativity, and the enjoyment of problem-solving, as well as happiness, passion for one's work, and belief in the value of one's contributions.
  • #1
If you had to pick a character trait that was most important for you in your scientific or engineering career, what would it be?

For me, it would be humility, which includes the willingness to accept that I don't know stuff, willingness to learn new stuff and the readiness to admit if I made a mistake.
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  • #2
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  • #3
Curiosity (don't worry about the cat)...
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  • #4
I don't know which I would think is most important but perserverance and curiosity are good traits, I think.
I would add "commitment to the scientific method", if that can be considered a trait :smile:.
  • #5
How about "comfort" using mathematics?
I mean simple algebra and trigonometry, not the math-major group theory and isomorphisms on n-dimensional manifold blah blah blah...

When I was in grade school we had "word problems" (such as, if a man can dig a 20-yard trench in 6 hours and a boy can dig 12 yards in 8 hours, how long would it take 3 men and 5 boys to dig a quarter mile..."). If you hate those kinds of problems (and lots of kids did hate them), I think you won't enjoy science and engineering.
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  • #6

“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.”

― Albert Einstein
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  • #7
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  • #8
I vote for:
Curiousity, Creativity, and the enjoyment of combining them.

Also, getting satisfaction out of solving a problem helps a lot.
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  • #10
Working well with others. No one does this stuff alone.
OTOH, this also applies to Doctors, Plumbers, Chefs, Teachers, Pilots, Politicians, Accountants, etc.
So maybe this one doesn't count here, even though it IS the most important thing.
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  • #11
Happiness, liking what you do, or believing in the value/impact of your work.
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