Saturday, April 11, 2015

Sheldon versus Wolowitz

There is a running joke in the show Big Bang Theory about how Howard is only an engineer with a master's degree. Sheldon, the Asperger's theoretical physicist doesn't consider him a real scientist.

This distinction, like so many things on Big Bang, is not just made up. It represents a very real difference that often exists between theoretical and experimental physicists.

It is, generally, the difference between N and S personalities in Myers-Briggs. The N is big-picture, imaginative, and intuitive. The S is concrete, detailed, and hands on. Engineers are S types. But let's just say there aren't likely any Ss doing string theory.

When it comes to experts, you do need to know who you're talking to. Even among engineers, there are several different kinds. You don't ask a surgeon about physical chemistry.

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