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What is the title of a person that studies random stuff? or a bit of everything?

For example,

A geologist studies the earth.

A _____ studies random stuff.

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    If we've inventing stuff, I'd like to contribute "aleatologist". – David Pugh May 19 '15 at 19:33
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    Actively studies do a degree of knowledge depth or just happens to be interested in whatever topic comes his way and only gets a passing glance at the subject? – Catija May 19 '15 at 20:09
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    A Jeopardy contestant :) – yuritsuki May 19 '15 at 22:58
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    It's not clear that this question is well defined, "random" itself carrying a number of interpretations. Appears random to others and actually random are quite different. The latter would imply some method of randomly selecting topics - a new one on me. For example, I don't consider browsing wikipedia or stack exchange random in this sense. – Keith May 20 '15 at 4:00
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    jack of all trades – wim May 20 '15 at 6:12

12 Answers 12

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Originally coined to describe one who took a superficial, rather than serious, interest in the arts, a dilettante now connotes someone who takes a light interest in many diverse fields, and a deep interest in none; a dilettante is a dabbler.

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    Though dilettante still has a strong negative connotation, which may not matter to the OP. – A.Ellett May 20 '15 at 13:23
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An eclectic:

noun

A person who derives ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources.

ODO

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    +1, but note that use as a noun is pretty rare. – Brian Donovan May 19 '15 at 19:24
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A polymath:

A person of great or varied learning; a person acquainted with many fields of study; an accomplished scholar. [OED]

From Greek πολυμαθής, “having learnt or knowing much.”

  • I love this term, but does it imply randomness? – user66974 May 19 '15 at 19:16
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    @Josh61, No, not particularly, but any seeming randomness is almost certain to be in the eye of the unsympathetic beholder. – Brian Donovan May 19 '15 at 19:20
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    The question asks for someone intrested in a bit of everything, so I think polymath, which suggests expertise or accomplishment in a variety of fields, is too strong. Simply being able to order dinner and ask directions in a dozen languages doesn't make me a polyglot, after all. – choster May 20 '15 at 0:07
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Another choice :

Renaissance man

"a man of any period who has a broad range of intellectual interests"

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    Like polymath, this has the problem of implying expertise in those fields. – Mark May 20 '15 at 20:16
  • @mark the op did not say that the person was not to be proficient in these matters either, and according to this definition a broad range of itnerest does not necessary implies proficiency. – P. O. May 20 '15 at 20:23
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From Wiktionary

smatterer (plural smatterers)

One who smatters; one who dabbles in or experiments with a little bit of everything, especially knowledge.

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If the subject of study is about random things, then a really good word is statistician.

A statistician studies randomness.

As for one who studies things which do not seem connected, the most common example I know is genius.

A genius appears to study random subjects.

  • Or a probability theorist. – Rahul May 21 '15 at 4:46
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It depends on what you mean by "study".

A geologist does research on the earth. Someone who "studies random things" who does actual research on all of them would be the most multidisciplinary scientist in the world; perhaps the noun multidisciplinarist can be used.

But more likely, he doesn't do much actual research, but rather reads textbooks, follows news about new discoveries and generally wants to know all there is to know about what actual scientists have found out, on a wide range of subjects. That's a science fan.

If, on the other hand, you're not talking research at all and more about studying as in doing school subjects, then a geologist is someone who did a lot of geology courses. Someone who spread out his coursework over all sorts of subjects is the opposite of a specialist -- a generalist.

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"Interdisciplinary scholar" is another possibility.

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Chaos Scientist would seem to fit the description you are looking for, i.e. the study of systems that seem random at first but then display characteristics of order.

  • Or 'chaotician', though that's a bit Hollywood – Pete Kirkham May 20 '15 at 10:57
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a philosopher! ;) seriously anything random thing you can think of, there is a philosophy on. philosophy is from the Greek word, roughly translates as lover of wisdom or knowledge. (philosophy major)

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    As a philosophy major, you ought to understand that philosophy is a discipline, with its own priorities and methodologies. Simply because it is possible to have a philosophy about bass fishing, bass playing, the USS Bass, and Bass Pro Shop stock doesn't meant that someone with an interest in all four is best described as a philosopher. After all, they also have an economics, a statistics, and a physics to them, and we wouldn't call the dabblers economists, statisticians, or physicists. – choster May 20 '15 at 1:19
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    @choster Except for the opinions of academics, philosopher seems like an excellent term to cover the concept. – A.Ellett May 20 '15 at 3:40
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To me, it sounds a bit like a TRENDY, if the random subject matters are whatever is popular at the time, it doesn't imply deep knowledge, though it doesn't really imply study either, just following whatever is 'hot' at the moment... When I was in school, everyone was becoming a marine biologist.. that faded and then it was psychology, etc...

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A trivia buff is someone who knows a lot of trivia, which is interesting but not very useful pieces of knowledge.

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