What's the image that comes to mind when you think of a scientist? Many may picture the Albert-Einstein-inspired stereotype of a man with dishevelled, white hair in a lab coat, looking a bit mad and crazy. Or possibly someone who's mixing chemicals in a lab. The truth is that science is more than just mad scientists and test tubes. And someone sitting at a computer coding could also be an image that represents a scientist. There's a lot of coding in science in the 21st century!
This week, in our Coding at Work series of interviews, we speak to our very own Dr Stephen Gruppetta, Founder and Director of Studies at codetoday. Stephen is also a scientist, and before setting up codetoday, he worked as a research physicist studying new techniques to image the back of the human eye to diagnose diseases earlier and more effectively. He learned coding during his time studying and working as a scientist.
Here's the interview with Stephen:
Coding in Science
Coding in science often deals with numerical data. Even a picture is made up of numbers—each pixel in an image is a set of numbers representing how much red, green, and blue there is in that particular pixel. Stephen talks about how he used programming to simulate the real world, often before setting up experiments in the lab that are time-consuming and expensive. Computer simulation allows scientists to test theories out before running experiments in the lab.
Coding in science is also used to analyse data that comes from experiments. As Stephen mentions in the interview, a lot of the science that scientists do today would be impossible without coding as the amount of data produced by experiments is very large.
Stephen's Tips For Learners
Stephen condensed his tips to learners to two: practise lots and don't ever fall into the trap of saying "I know coding"—keep learning new things as the more you learn, the more you'll realise how much else there is to learn.
Read more about Dr Stephen Gruppetta:
Stephen has also written a book for adult learners. You can read his author biography on ThePythonCodingBook.com