Historically, “Gentleman Scientist” referred to a scientist who pursues their research as a hobby and through independent means, rather than external funds (e.g., government grants). It describes a type of scientist, not a gender of scientist. At the time the term came into use (and today), this type happened to be almost entirely male. At the time the term came into use, most types of anything that were any fun to be happened to be almost entirely male. English has a lot of vocabulary baggage. Indeed, at that time, “gentleman” indicated the socio-economic standing (independent means, but not nobility) to a far greater degree than sex or good manners.
A “gentleman scientist” takes risks and pursues science as a passion, not just as a profession. No matter where you fall on the gender spectrum, if that sounds like you, you are in the right place.
A “gentleman scientist” is:
- One who practices science
- For the joy of science
- Motivated by what is “interesting” not what can be “funded”