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"Experimentalist" [1] is a blanket term for all sorts of scientists engaged more in experimental activity than in the theoretical side of their sciences.

The word "experimenter" emphasizes the person running an experiment, usually in a single instance; "experimentalist," by contrast, indicates a pattern in a person's approach to discovering knowledge.

"Experimentalist" is also used in reference to a personality type that builds up gradually to a work. Here the term is not limited to science, but is frequently used in relation to artists. Famous "experimentalists" could include Cézanne, Mark Twain or Robert Frost. The opposite of being an Experimentalist is to be a Conceptualist.

Colloquially, an Experimentalist has been defined as "one who prefers to ascertain by finding out."

Famous experimentalists[edit]


  1. ^ See, e.g., for the use of term experimentalist in Ian Hacking, Representing and Intervening: introductory topics in the philosophy of natural science, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1983


  • David W. Galenson, Old Masters and Young Geniuses (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2006).
  • David W. Galenson, Artistic Capital (New York and London: Routledge, 2006).

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