Is There Room for the Amateur in Modern Scientific Research?: Background information when reading The Dinosaur Artist

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The Dinosaur Artist

Obsession, Betrayal, and the Quest for Earth's Ultimate Trophy

by Paige Williams

The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams X
The Dinosaur Artist by Paige Williams
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  • First Published:
    Sep 2018, 432 pages
    Paperback:
    Sep 10, 2019, 432 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez
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About this Book

Is There Room for the Amateur in Modern Scientific Research?

This article relates to The Dinosaur Artist

Artist's rendering of Gaia14aaeScientific discoveries were once often made by amateurs (often self-educated, curious members of the upper class), who carved out disciplines based on their interests in fields such as medicine, astronomy, physics and natural history, to name a few. The word "amateur" has a Latin etymological root – amator – meaning "lover." Although these days the front lines of scientific discovery are mainly peopled by professional scientists, there is still room for the amateur scientist driven by a passion for an area of study.

In The Dinosaur Artist, Williams quotes former curator of the Department of Paleobiology at the Smithsonian Institution Clayton Ray, who stressed the importance of the amateur community, explaining that "an ever larger and more sophisticated public is what will save more fossils and advance paleontology." The book's protagonist, Eric Prokopi, went against the advice of the people in his life and made a profession out of his amateur fossil hunting. He ...

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