The lab coat. To some, it’s a symbol of the science industry. To others, it’s just a prop. Some people associate lab coats with those who are considered scientists. However, there are also scientists out there who don’t wear lab coats, but does that make them any less of a scientist? Are all scientists required to wear the uniform?
The debate on the lab coat vs. scientist is ongoing. Check out the thoughts and beliefs of those on both sides.
Pro Lab Coat
One of the biggest reasons that scientists choose to wear lab coats is to protect their skin and clothes. Many scientists work with chemicals, substances, and other items that can damage skin or damage and stain clothing. A lab coat is a defense mechanism to help keep the skin and clothing safe.
Other scientists opt to wear a lab coat to protect their work. For example, if a piece of fuzz from a sweater falls into a project, the project is now contaminated. At the same time, if a scientist walks outside with some bacteria on their shirt, they have now exposed other people to that bacteria. Wearing a lab coat helps keep the work safe while also keeping the work inside where it belongs.
Some people believe that wearing a lab coat makes you smarter. A recent study tested three different groups of people on their ability to focus as well as their cognitive skills. The study found that people who were wearing a lab coat exceeded those who were wearing a painter’s coat and those who weren’t wearing anything. The study was performed to test how our apparel has an impact on how we perform. Due to this study, some scientists believe that wearing the lab coat is essential to perform the highest quality work possible.
No Lab Coat
To defend the side who prefers not to wear lab coats, it’s necessary to provide contradictions to the pro lab coat reasons. First, regarding protection, a lab coat may not be enough to protect the skin and clothes from harm. Depending on the substance, it may be able to eat through the lab coat. This is why many scientists opt to wear a heavy-duty apron instead of a lab coat.
To inhibit contamination, there are other precautions scientists can take. For example, depending on the work, a scientist may need to wear more than a lab coat to prevent contamination. Some scientists are required to wear full-body suits or even hazmat suits and take other safety measures, such as showering before and after work.
Not all science is the same, which is why not every scientist feels the need to wear a lab coat. For example, a geologist is just as much a scientist as a chemist, but a geologist doesn’t need to wear a lab coat to hike around the world in search of geological discoveries. While a lab coat may be beneficial to those scientists like lab technicians who work in labs, it’s not a requirement for all scientists in every line of scientific work.
Like most debates, this one is up in the air. There are those die-hard pro lab coat supporters who believe that it’s a necessity not only for safety and the job at hand, but also for the cognitive benefits and reputation. On the other hand, some people simply don’t feel like one article of clothing is enough to determine their profession or their accolades. Maybe everyone should just agree to disagree and allow each side to do their own work in peace. After all, science itself isn’t going to discriminate against what a person is wearing, so why should we?