All Scientists Are Biased: How does this affect outcomes and what can you do about it?

Primary tabs

Humans in all fields, including science, make sense of the world by organizing information to identify patterns. Yet this powerful drive can lead us to exclude from consideration an observation that does not fit an established pattern. This in turn can cause us to overlook opportunities for significantly advancing our understanding of the world around us. 

Richard Feynman acknowledged this issue when he wrote, “The exception tests the rule."  If there is an exception to a rule, and if the exception can be proved by observation, then the rule is wrong.”  

Patricia L. Clark, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Notre Dame, will discuss how confining one's thinking to established rules can lead to inaccurate conclusions. She will cite examples from diverse fields, ranging from biophysics to gender equity. She will also present strategies to identify and quantify bias and how to use these strategies to advance knowledge.  

About Patricia Clark

The Clark lab develops biophysical approaches to study how proteins fold in the cellular environment. Among the phenomena they are probing are co-translational folding of polypeptide chains during synthesis by the ribosome, folding of virulence proteins upon secretion from pathogenic bacteria, and re-engineering of protein-based materials for biotechnological applications.


  • Workflow Status: Published
  • Created By: A. Maureen Rouhi
  • Created: 01/10/2017
  • Modified By: Fletcher Moore
  • Modified: 04/13/2017

Target Audience

No target audience selected.