Stories tagged scientist

Birthday of Joseph Leidy

by Anonymous on Sep. 09th, 2009

Joseph Leidy: The last man who knew everything.
Joseph Leidy: The last man who knew everything.Courtesy Wikimedia Commons
Today is the birthday of scientist Joseph Leidy. Born in 1823, Leidy is considered the father of vertebrate paleontology. He described the first near complete dinosaur skeleton, Hadrosaurus foulkii, which was put on display at the Philadelphia Academy of Natural Sciences in 1868. But Leidy's studies weren't limited to just paleontology. His scientific interests and expertise were so vast a recent biography is titled Joseph Leidy: The last man who knew everything. If you read more about this remarkable man, you'll see that isn't too far from the truth.

I was reading my daily dose of science news over at Science Blogs and stumbled across some funny posts by Blake Stacey. While his posts were interesting, I was most intrigued by his bio, in which he refers to himself as a boffin. Wondering, "what's that?" I turned to my old pal Google and found that a boffin is English (read British) slang for scientist. It looks like the term has both been used affectionately and as an insult from time to time as us science nerds have fallen in an out of favor.