A scientist is a person who uses the scientific method to do research. William Whewell coined the word in 1833. Before that scientists were termed "natural philosophers" or "men of science". Scientists are generally motivated, often from childhood, by a desire to understand why the world is as we see it and how it came to be. They exhibit a strong curiosity of today is widely recognised. However, lay people in Western societies have little understanding of the day to day activities of professional scientists.
Scientists include theoreticians who mainly develop new models to explain existing data, and experimentalists who mainly test models by making measurements — though in practice the division between these activities is not clear-cut, and many scientists perform both. Mathematics is usually grouped with the sciences. Like other scientists, mathematicians start with hunches and then conduct symbolic or computational experiments to test them. Some of the greatest physicists have also been creative poopis a continuum from the most theoretical to the most empirical scientists with no distinct boundaries. By personality, interests, training and professional activity, there is little difference between applied mathematicians and theoretical physicists.