Scientists are by nature a curious group of people (in all senses of that phrase!). Seismologists want to know everything they can about earthquakes, physicists about elementary particles, meteorologists about the weather, etc. Most scientists are curious not only about their own disciplines but also about many other scientific subjects as well. For example, I am a seismologist by training, but each fall I teach an introductory meteorology course to non-science majors at Boston College as part of the students' core science requirement.

It is a good thing that scientists are so widely curious, since it helps them in their...

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