Not very much. I have met, worked with (and even married) some astonishingly clever scientists – the best in the world in my field. I’m pretty sure I am not as clever as them. But really, the only important characteristic for being a scientist, is finding stuff interesting. So like as you like thinking about science, like playing with ideas, gadgets, animals or rocks, then you are clever enough to do it.
I really don’t know. People are “clever” in different ways, and it’s hard to measure. There are some things that I know I’m good at – for example I have a good memory, which means I found exams quite easy at school. But that’s not necessarily the same as “being clever”.
I’m quite good at some “spatial” tasks too, such as finding your way around on the ocean floor. On a recent expedition, I kept getting called back into the control room for our underwater vehicles when other shifts got lost, because I was the only one with a “map” of the area in my head. In the end I drew a map for everyone to use – and when we eventually got our sonar fixed and used it to make a proper map, I’m pleased to say mine turned out to be pretty accurate!
But that doesn’t necessarily make someone “clever” either, and different people are “clever” in different ways. For example, my wife knows a lot more about biology than I do, and handles its concepts much more skilfully than I can.
So, there are some things that I find easier than others – and there are other things that other people are much better at than me. Fortunately, in my research, we work as a team so we all benefit from each other’s strengths.
Einstein once summed it up nicely, when he said: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
I think I am as clever as anyone else! to me, being clever is all about being able to go and find out information that you don’t already know. I don’t know the answers to most of the questions that I have been asked on her, especially the ones that are not related to my subject, but I am able to find out the answers, and hopefully let you guys know in a way you can understand. I think everyone can be “clever” if they work hard and apply themselves!