I'm searching for a one-word synonym for "science lover". In my case, I love science and I self study it, but I never got a degree in Physics or Chemistry or any of these related subjects (except computer-science). But I enjoy experimenting stuff and see what's going on.

So, what would be a one-word good alternative for "science lover"?

The best one I found is learner, but that's more general I guess. Scientist is probably too much in my case. I saw sciencophile in another post, but I don't really like it–it sounds too complicated.

  • @Lawrence Thanks! I saw that in another post, but I don't really like it––it sounds too complicated. :-) – Ionică Bizău Aug 29 '16 at 4:34
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    @IonicăBizău Since the thing about 'science' that interests you is "experimenting stuff and see what's going on", perhaps an appropriate description is curious or inquisitive (though that could have a negative connotation), or simply that you have an enquiring mind. – Lawrence Aug 29 '16 at 4:40
  • The following question is related, but maybe not that useful to you if you don't like "sciencophile": One who loves science The following question may have some useful comments, although unfortunately there is only one posted answer and in my opinion, it's pretty bad: Lover of Science – sumelic Aug 29 '16 at 4:44
  • If your main focus is on learning new things, not on "science" in particular, your question may be answered by the following post: What term means “one who enjoys learning”? Please reply to say what you think. – sumelic Aug 29 '16 at 4:48
  • Not single words :( "science enthusiast" or "science buff". – Graffito Aug 29 '16 at 10:59
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The archaic answer is a philosopher, which comes from the word philosophy, where

  • philo = love; and
  • sophia = knowledge, wisdom:

philosophy (n.) c. 1300, "knowledge, body of knowledge," from Old French filosofie "philosophy, knowledge" (12c., Modern French philosophie) and directly from Latin philosophia and from Greek philosophia "love of knowledge, pursuit of wisdom; systematic investigation," from philo- "loving" (see philo-) + sophia "knowledge, wisdom," from sophis "wise, learned;" of unknown origin. - Online Etymology Dictionary

Support for the link between philosophy and science comes from the term natural philosophy:

natural philosophy noun [mass noun] archaic Natural science, especially physical science. - ODO

Note that calling a lover of science a philosopher would now be somewhat misleading. The modern understanding has specialised this usage to an academic context, hence the Ph in the title, Ph.D.

(This answer is an expanded version of a popular comment I made to a very similar question. I'm including it here for historical interest in the term philosopher.)

  • You beat me to it by seconds; +1. – alwayslearning Aug 29 '16 at 6:07
  • Sorry, @alwayslearning. Your username would have been most appropriate for an answer to this question. :) – Lawrence Aug 29 '16 at 6:09
  • lol, @Lawrence! Sometimes I wonder whether I am taken seriously at all because of the username :) – alwayslearning Aug 29 '16 at 6:12
  • @alwayslearning In all seriousness, I'd consider your username to indicate an excellent fit to the Stack Exchange mindset. Now that I've said it, though, I may reserve judgement on any copycat usernames from here on. :) – Lawrence Aug 29 '16 at 6:20
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    @Lawrence And, of course, the original method of scientific inquiry was by reasoning - the method used by philosophers like, Socrates, Aristotle and Plato. It was sometime later that they started conducting practical experiments. Though Archimedes is said to have benefitted from a practical observation i.e that the water-level in his bath rose when he got in, and lowered when got out. – WS2 Aug 29 '16 at 8:13

Maybe a science geek?

geek [USUALLY WITH MODIFIER] A knowledgeable and obsessive enthusiast:

a computer geek

It captures your knowledge without pointing to a classic education and your enthusiasm for the topic.

Boffin is a good one. Probably most recognised in the UK, it is slang for a scientist, engineer, or other person engaged in technical or scientific work. Originally, the word was armed-forces slang for a technician or research scientist but now the word can be used for anyone with specialist technical knowledge whether it is applied professionally or on an amateur basis.

To my ears it is usually a positive word but like geek or nerd it can have slightly negative connotations of someone who is clever but socially awkward.

Perhaps you are a Scientific Autodidact.

Autodidact: noun 1. a person who has learned a subject without the benefit of a teacher or formal education; a self-taught person.


Wikipedia notes

Many notable contributions have been made by autodidacts.

including Darwin and Faraday. You may be in good company.

There may be an obscure single-word that means "science lover", but it won't be understood by most readers. So, I suggest you use two words:

Science + lover/buff/aficionado/enthusiast/nut/fan/fanatic/addict etc.

There are quite a lot of usage examples for these on Google. Then there's also wannabe scientist, which might have a negative connotation.

WannabeODO

adjective Aspiring or wanting to be a specified type of person

"a pair of wannabe pop stars"
"wannabe millionaires"

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