• Question: why did you become a scientist?

    Asked by emilycurtis to Cesar, Emily, Jamie, Kate, Philippa on 19 Jun 2011. This question was also asked by clogerina01, em210198, chloeffion123, thefreerunner, shannoncourtney.
    • Photo: Cesar Lopez-Monsalvo

      Cesar Lopez-Monsalvo answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I decided to become a scientist at the end of school. I wanted to be an architect before, but i realize that I was good at maths and physics and decided to give it a try. i was not very sure where that would take me, but so far it has been great.

    • Photo: Jamie Gallagher

      Jamie Gallagher answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I just took things as they came. I studied it at school and then decided that was what I wanted to at uni.

      I’m not in it for the money or the fame! I want to do it, I enjoy it. It is interesting and I get to do lots of things I wouldnt get to do in a day to day desk job. Mix chemicals, use blowtorches to melt glass and work with dangerous chemicals.

    • Photo: Emily Robinson

      Emily Robinson answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I think I am very like Jamie in this respect, at school I did the subjects that made me interested (as well as biology I also loved art, geopgraphy and photography)… but in the end science won my attention when I was thinking about what I wanted to do at uni. The real moment of inspiration was when I found a Neuroscience booklet stuffed in the back of my 6th form careers library. I took it home and read it from cover to cover (it was a very short booklet, but thats not the point) and it just made me really interested in all the research questions people were doing about the brain! (You can read the booklet yourself online at: http://www.bna.org.uk/static/docs/BNA_English.pdf )
      From then on I decided that Neuroscience was the degree I wanted to do (which confused my mum no end…. as she was unsure it was a real subject, lol). Then I really enjoyed my degree and got a chance to start doing some really research towards the end of it which made me want to do a PhD. Now I am a year away from the end of my PhD and I don’t really know which direction my ‘next steps’ will be.

    • Photo: Kate Clancy

      Kate Clancy answered on 15 Jun 2011:

      I became a scientist because I thought I could make an important contribution to evolutionary medicine and anthropology, particularly around women’s health. To be honest, the history of women’s health is pretty sexist and it does a real disservice to female patients. I thought I could do research that could change doctors’ beliefs about how the female body works.

      So far I think I’ve done some pretty good research on this, and have interacted with doctors some, but I still have a long way to go to realize my goal of changing clinical practice around women and girls.

    • Photo: Philippa Demonte

      Philippa Demonte answered on 19 Jun 2011:

      @emilycurtis @clogerina01 @em210198 @chloeffion123 @thefreerunner @shannoncourtney I took science subjects at school, but i didn’t have the most positive experience with them when it came to my A’levels. I ended up studying languages and linguistics for my first degree instead and working for many years in the music business. Don’t get me wrong, it had its fun moments and made me into the person that I am, but working in business left me with no life of my own!

      When that came to an end 4 years ago, I felt like a change, so I started studying science with Open University to give me a new challenge at a level I could handle, and at the same time did some travelling. I still can’t explain why, but I really wanted to go see some more volcanoes, and long story short, ended up working voluntarily at the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory for 3 months. That was a hugely influential and amazing experience for me, not just seeing Kilauea erupting whilst I was there, but being part of a group of scientists, each with a different speciality, who were working together to solve mysteries about the volcanoes.

      I’m really thankful to these scientists and the Open University courses for re-awakening my own interest and curiosity in science. This gave me the confidence to go on and study geophysics at University of Leeds for 3 years, and now here I am at Montserrat Volcano Observatory. Life as a scientist is good! 🙂