A conversation with Temple Grandin

On Monday July 12, 2023, UAlberta awarded Temple Grandin  (distinguished Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University and renowned advocate and expert in animal welfare and autism) an Honorary Degree during the Convocation ceremony to recognize her remarkable achievements. This prestigious recognition highlights her exceptional contributions to the field of agriculture, particularly in improving livestock handling practices and implementing animal welfare auditing programs with industry in North America.

During her visit, she dedicated time to meet and have lunch with faculty members, research associates, undergraduate and graduate students of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life, and Environmental Sciences. What an honour it was for two Gentec team members to meet this lady, scientist and icon in the animal welfare field.

Photo courtesy of Dr. Stanford Blade, Dean of the Faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences, UAlberta

She was genuinely interested in our research. She kindly asked each of us to introduce ourselves and our research interests. In particular, she offered insights about the value of rigorous research. She also offered her precious advice to our undergraduate and graduate students, describing what a good scientific paper should be, focusing on the proper description of the scientific methodology and analysis. She mentioned that, when she reads a scientific paper, she wants to be able to visualize it – not a surprise for anybody familiar with her career or the biopic “Temple Grandin”. If the methods are not properly described, then the scientific value of the paper is compromised.

She also talked about her books, especially her new one “Visual Thinking: The Hidden Gifts of People Who Think in Pictures, Patterns, and Abstractions,” which explains that we live in a language-dominated world that tends to sideline visual thinkers, screening them out at school and passing them over in the workplace – even though visual thinkers constitute a far greater proportion of the population than previously believed. Her take-home message for us was: There is a place for visual thinkers in science.

Thank you, Professor Grandin!

Elda Dervishi and Niloofar Pejman


Posted in Consumer.