What is the difference between a scientist and a technologist?

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gsenviro eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Even though these terms may be used interchangeably, there are significant differences between scientists and technologists.

Scientists study science, that is, they try to decipher why things happen. Scientists come up with testable hypothesis, verify them and develop theories to explain processes and events. On the other hand, technologists work with science. That is, they use the knowledge obtained by scientists and apply it to develop things and processes that others can use. That is why technologists are often said to work on 'applied' science. Scientists aspire for knowledge and often work on topics of their own interest and hence their discoveries are meant to be neutral (assuming science to be neither good or bad). Technologists work towards development and operation of processes/functions and work on topics of broad interest and hence their discoveries are always biased. For example, scientists discovered radioactivity and chain reactions (a neutral discovery); technologists made nuclear bombs (a seemingly harmful development) and nuclear power plants (a useful development) with it. 

Hope this helps. 

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