Can You Identify What Kind of Scientist Deals With These Natural Phenomena?


By: Brittany Rowland

6 Min Quiz

Image: Morsa Images / DigitalVision / Getty Images

About This Quiz

Since humans have existed on Earth, they've been curious about science. Oh, sure, the ancient Egyptians and Mesopotamians didn't have giant telescopes that could see into the vastness of space or powerful microscopes that could examine tiny particles. But they still performed scientific experiments to better understand the nature of the world and the universe. And for thousands of years since, people have continually made advancements in medicine, science and astronomy, adding to people's understanding of natural phenomena such as volcanoes, earthquakes and hurricanes.

Let's face it: the world would be a much darker place without the invaluable contributions of scientists ... and not just because they harnessed electricity! Scientists have helped us cure diseases, effectively use our natural resources, predict hurricanes and tornadoes, travel to the moon and so much more. We have scientists like Galileo, Copernicus, Curie and Darwin to thank for our longer lifespans, brighter futures and richer knowledge of the world. 

So whether you built a volcano model in school or played with a chemistry set as a kid, see how many of these scientists you can identify by their official titles. We promise not to blind you with science! Maybe you should see an ophthalmologist for that ...

Unearthed any bones lately? This kind of scientist studies ancient fossils.

You have paleontologists to thank for the dinosaur bones you see displayed at the museum. Paleontologists study ancient fossils to discover what life was like thousands of years ago.


When you feel an earthquake rumbling, it's time to call what kind of scientist?

People once thought that earthquakes were caused by angry gods or subterranean gases. Seismologists study seismic waves through the Earth to better understand and predict earthquakes and tsunamis.


If studying cells is your thing, consider a career as which of the following?

Cytologists explore the functions and structure of cells to aid in medical research. They are concerned with both eukaryotes, which have a nucleus, and prokaryotes, which include bacteria.


What type of scientist studies how genes pass from parent to child?

Have you ever wondered how your parents' traits got passed down to you? Geneticists could tell you how; they study genes and heredity. They owe Gregor Mendel some thanks for his early work in the field.


Are you curious about how rocks form? You might enjoy being which kind of scientist?

Remember learning about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks in school? A petrologist studies those three kinds of rocks and how they form. Petrology and mineralogy often go hand in hand.


Attention, bug lovers! Which scientist is an expert when it comes to insects?

Entomology, or the study of insects, is a particular branch of zoology. Since there are potentially millions of species of insects — many unclassified — entomologists have plenty of subjects to study!


We bet this kind of scientist, who studies mushrooms, is a real "fungi." Can you name them?

Before you go eating any wild mushrooms, you should consult with a mycologist. This type of scientist knows all about fungi and can determine whether wild mushrooms are toxic or not.


Fascinated by diseases of the blood? You should talk to this kind of scientist.

Hematologists research the diseases related to blood, such as blood clots, hemophilia, leukemia and lymphoma. People with these afflictions have hematologists to thank for their treatment plans.


At career day, this kind of scientist might bring in moths and butterflies to show the students. What is this person called?

Lepidopterology, or the scientific study of butterflies and moths, is a branch of entomology. Historically, European lepidopterists have traveled to places like Australia and Brazil to find new specimens.


Can you identify the type of scientist who studies cancer?

The word "oncology" comes from the Greek for "study of tumors." Oncologists stay busy studying the causes of cancer and researching ways to cure it. They also list risk factors to avoid.


If you consider yourself an expert on the animal kingdom, you should look into becoming what?

A zoologist is a type of biologist who specifically studies all animals, including ones that are extinct. Zoologists also research animals' habitats and how they fare in their ecosystems.


We bet this kind of scientist had pet snakes and frogs as a kid! Can you name the scientist?

Herpetology, which comes from the Greek for "creeping animal," is the study of amphibians and reptiles. That covers a lot of cold-blooded animals, from lizards, snakes and turtles to frogs, salamanders and toads.


Curious about the origins of the universe? Find one of these scientists to talk to!

If you ever need someone to explain the Big Bang Theory to you, you can ask a cosmologist. Cosmology is focused on understanding the origins and evolution of the universe. That's some pretty vast stuff!


Maybe Hitchcock consulted one of these scientists when he directed "The Birds." They're experts on them!

Since the Stone Age, when people drew pictures of birds, people have been curious about avian species. Ornithologists seek to understand the behavior of birds, such as their migration patterns.


There's nothing fishy about these scientists! They simply study fish.

An ichthyologist is a kind of zoologist that studies fish, and they have plenty of species to choose from. According to a global database of fish, ichthyologists discover hundreds of new fish species every year.


If trees speak to you, consider a career as this type of scientist who studies wooded plants. What are they called?

Dendrologists know all about wooded plants, like trees, shrubs and vines. They often use leaf shape to identify the type of tree. Although it's similar in some ways, dendrology is distinct from botany.


These scientists study the body's defense system. What are they called?

Immunology is considered a branch of biology because it studies living beings — specifically, their immune systems. Thus, immunologists are concerned with organs like the thymus, spleen and liver.


What kind of scientist studies ice — specifically, large bodies of ice?

Glaciologists study glaciers and other large bodies of ice, tracking the movement and melting of glaciers around the world. Astroglaciologists look for ice on other planets and moons.


Today's young cave explorer might be this type of scientist tomorrow. What's it called?

Speleology is the study of caves and how they form and change over time. Sometimes speleologists are confused with spelunkers or cavers — people who explore caves for fun. But both groups need solid caving skills.


Interested in inland bodies of water? Maybe you should be this kind of scientist who studies them.

Limnologists are scientists who study inland aquatic ecosystems, such as lakes, rivers, wetlands and ponds. This field of study focuses on the physical and chemical traits of inland bodies of water.


Gorilla expert Dian Fossey is an example of which type of scientist?

Primatologists study primates to better understand their behavior and evolution over time. An interesting fact: women make up the majority of scientists seeking Ph.D.s in primatology.


We imagine that these scientists are used to dealing with eruptions ... What are they called?

A volcanologist is a type of geologist who focuses on volcanoes, magma and lava. These scientists study the history of volcanoes and what causes them to erupt, so they can better predict future eruptions.


Can you give us the weather forecast? Maybe you're this type of scientist!

The Greek word "meteorology" literally means "the study of things high in the air." Meteorologists study changes in the atmosphere to predict the weather. For instance, we rely on them to warn us about hurricanes.


If creepy-crawly spiders and scorpions are your favorites, perhaps you should become what kind of scientist?

If you need a spider expert, an arachnologist is your safest bet. These scientists study arachnids, including spiders, scorpions and daddy longlegs. They'll know whether or not a particular spider is venomous.


What type of scientist specifically studies organisms in the sea?

Since the oceans cover about 71% of Earth's surface, marine biologists have a lot of ground to cover, so to speak. They study marine life to better understand how such life affects the overall environment.


Yes, parasites inspire their own field of study! Can you name the scientist who studies them?

A parasitologist studies parasites and their hosts and how they interact. Parasitology is especially important to the field of medicine, because parasites can cause malaria, dysentery and other diseases.


Scientists who can easily identify sapphires, rubies and diamonds are called what?

Gemology is a branch of mineralogy that focuses on gemstones. Many jewelers become gemologists so they can better evaluate the quality of gems. They use special tools, such as a refractometer, to examine gems.


Those who love to gaze up at the stars and other planets should consider a career as what kind of scientist?

If it's your dream to observe galaxies, comets, planets and moons, then you should consider becoming an astronomer. These scientists study celestial objects to understand how they form and move.


These scientists, who study disease, are invaluable to the field of medicine. What are they?

Doctors wouldn't be able to diagnose illnesses without the help of pathologists, who study the causes and effects of different diseases. Pathologists commonly analyze tissue or blood samples.


Do you love animals and want to study mammals in particular? Talk to one of these scientists.

Mammalogy is a branch of zoology that focuses specifically on mammals, a diverse class of warm-blooded animals. According to mammalogists, over 6,000 mammal species have been identified thus far.


Which of these scientists studies drugs and their effects?

A branch of biology, pharmacology studies drugs and their effects on living organisms. Phamacologists try to discover the therapeutic benefits of chemicals, which is useful in the creation of drugs.


Can you name the scientist who studies the different forms of matter?

If you need an expert on solid, liquid and gaseous matter on Earth, a geologist is your best bet. These scientists also help find natural energy resources, like natural gas and petroleum.


This type of scientist studies the physical features and inhabitants of Earth and other planets. Can you name them?

The word "geography" comes from the Greek for "Earth description," and that's what geographers provide: a comprehensive description of the land, physical features and phenomena of the planet.


Who wouldn't love to study bacterial species? These scientists do.

Lucky for us, bacteriologists study bacteria and how they impact medicine. For example, these scientists explore how certain bacteria cause diseases, which helps them develop antibiotics.


Want to learn more about the nervous system? Chat with one of these scientists.

If anyone knows all about the nervous system and its impact on learning and behavior, it's neuroscientists! They study the brain, spinal cord and nerves to better understand diseases like multiple sclerosis.


Can you identify the scientist who studies weather conditions over long periods of time?

Climatologists are concerned with climate changes. By analyzing atmospheric conditions over an indefinite period of time, they can make predictions about future climate conditions.


Interested in how sand, clay and silt erode over time? Then you're like one of these scientists.

Sedimentologists look at sedimentary structures to get a better idea of the Earth's geologic history. In particular, they study how sediments form, erode, change and move over time.


These scientists explore how soil affects plants. Can you name them?

Edaphology is a type of soil science that explores how soil affects plant life. Understandably, edaphologists are invaluable scientists in agriculture because they can measure soil fertility.


Do you know which type of scientist studies the health effects of radiation on living creatures?

Radiobiologists study the impact on living beings of ionizing radiation. While radiation has useful purposes, such as for treating cancer, too much of it can have adverse health effects.


Make no bones about it ... These scientists who study bones are hip to the human body!

Osteology is a branch of science that focuses on bones, their structure, how they grow and their diseases. An osteologist may, for example, be able to determine the age and sex of a human skeleton.


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