• Question: Why did you choose to be a scientist

    Asked by Big Kat on 21 Sep 2016. This question was also asked by 539cara48, vcy, 534cara46, kiera.
    • Photo: Katie Mahon

      Katie Mahon answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      I decided to do engineering instead of science because I love the practical side of how things work, how to design everyday items, how to make things better etc.
      My grandad was a mechanic and I would love playing in the garage as a kid and trying to make toys out of all the scrap parts and nuts & bolts

    • Photo: Rebecca Dewey

      Rebecca Dewey answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      I wanted to be a scientist since I was about 8 years old! I’ve changed the area that I wanted to work in from time to time (I originally wanted to work in drug development, and then in space science, then in theoretical astrophysics and now I’m in medical imaging). I guess the main thing that attracted me was that I want to be the first person to find out all the new cool stuff – how to diagnose and cure diseases, etc. I am just really nosey! It’s really exciting being on the cutting edge of new stuff being found out.

    • Photo: Evan Keane

      Evan Keane answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      First off physics and maths were the subjects in school which most interested me. I was (and remain) impressed by how the entire Universe and everything in it can be understood, and it behaves in a mathematical way. I was also lucky enough to be living in a country and time when going to University was free (I went to University in Ireland between 2002 and 2006). So I just decided to do what I was interested in. I didn’t know what job I would do but knew that there were a lot of jobs involving the skills you get in a science degree (there still are – loads). I wasn’t worried about job security to be honest – I was happy enough being a broke student.

      If University was Β£9000 per year like it is now in the UK I don’t I couldn’t have afforded it. Actually I think that governments should provide education for free to their citizens as a basic, if they can afford it (the UK could afford it but chooses not to do that). Sadly the current UK situation means that a lot of people in the UK who might be great scientists (or many other things) might not do that. Although if it’s what you want to do I would encourage you to still do it. It’s great to be a scientist! And you can still do it if you don’t have huge sums of money – for example you don’t need to pay at all to go to Universities in other EU countries, and in others the cost is much less (UK is the highest in the EU). So look around!

    • Photo: Katie Sparks

      Katie Sparks answered on 21 Sep 2016:

      I’m not sure I chose to be a scientist, it kind of just happened. I play a lot of music outside of work and love making things, but what my job and hobbies all have in common is that I love to find out how things work and then try using that understanding in some way. Which is all things that you do with science.
      Career wise, I picked science over music for it’s stability and I also because as an amateur musician, I can play lots and join groups, but it’s really hard to do high level science outside the workplace.

    • Photo: Ian Hands-Portman

      Ian Hands-Portman answered on 22 Sep 2016:

      Constant curiosity! I’ve had microscopes since I was eight, used to fiddle around with electronics, grow things, pull mechanical things apart ( and sometimes manage to put them back together ), I’ve always wanted to know how things work and what’s inside them.

    • Photo: Michael Sulu

      Michael Sulu answered on 10 Jul 2017:

      I chose to do engineering because the type i do (biochemical engineering) needed a good understanding of all the sciences and maths, so i thought i wouldn’t get bored! I tried just chemistry for a while but found that boring so i switched

    • Photo: Melanie Zimmer

      Melanie Zimmer answered on 6 Oct 2017:

      Hi Big Kat,

      I honestly never planned to go into research, let alone becoming a scientist or even studying computer science and maths!

      In the end I can only β€œblame” myself for missing a deadline for a portfolio, which was required for a design study programme, that made me study maths instead.

      During my Bachelor’s programme in maths we had computer science lectures, which I actually enjoyed more than some of my maths lectures! So I then decided to study computer science for my Master’s.

      I then got offered a job at a research institute, which also allowed me to start a PhD, and that is basically how I ended up being where I am now. πŸ™‚


    • Photo: anon

      anon answered on 22 Jan 2018:

      Sometimes I get to be the first person in the world to know a new result. That is really rewarding. I get to work on interesting and important problems (reducing infectious disease spread), to visit interesting places (Washington DC, Hawaii, Brazil, Thailand, Australia, …) and work with great people.

    • Photo: Dmitry Dereshev

      Dmitry Dereshev answered on 22 Jan 2018:

      It was not a rational choice πŸ™‚ Across all of my prior jobs I enjoyed teaching and investigating. Science seems to offer both.

      More pragmatically, I had a maths degree, and I wanted to do something related to computer science, but without hardcore programming or hardware. With that in mind I found a person who agreed to supervise my PhD, and ended up doing human-robot interaction πŸ™‚

    • Photo: Chloe Huseyin

      Chloe Huseyin answered on 22 Jan 2019:

      I really liked science in school but I didn’t have a favourite science subject. Though I did find biology much easier to learn. I chose a chemistry degree that had some biology and physics modules so I didn’t have to pick between the subjects but I realised in the second year that I had made a mistake and that I enjoyed the biology modules more. So I spoke to the college and they (thankfully!) let me change into a biology degree.

      Having read the other answers you will see that many of us started out somewhere in science and are now working in a very different area. I guess I chose to do what I liked and am interested in and wound up a scientist as a result.