• Question: what inspired you to be a scientist

    Asked by stanbcfc to Antoine, Daniel, James, Julie, Saima on 15 Nov 2013. This question was also asked by alfiebcfc, nocho, sweetiepie13.
    • Photo: Daniel Patten

      Daniel Patten answered on 15 Nov 2013:


      Hi stanbcfc, alfiebcfc and nocho

      I can’t remember any specific inspiration that made me want to be a scientist, it kind of happened quite naturally and I ended up following the subjects that I enjoyed (and was good at!) at school (mainly Biology and Chemistry).

      Now that I am a scientist, the thing that inspires me to continue being one is that fact, through my work, I can add to our knowledge of the world we live in and (hopefully!) make some sort of difference (no matter how small!).

    • Photo: Saima Rehman

      Saima Rehman answered on 15 Nov 2013:


      Stanbcfc! For me, this was like a gradual inspiration from my teacher.
      At school: My science tutor.
      At higher school: My Physics, Chemistry and Biology teacher.
      At college: My Biology and Chemistry lecturer.
      At university: My Biochemistry professor.
      At work-place: My Biochemistry senior scientist (my boss).

    • Photo: Julie Speakman

      Julie Speakman answered on 15 Nov 2013:


      Hey stanbcfc

      I don’t think it was one thing that inspired me. It took me a long time to decide to actually be a professional scientist but I think I realised when I was quite young that I liked working scientifically – so analysing and questioning things, and looking at problems in an organised, logical way.
      After my A-levels I chose to study Physics at University because I found the subject interesting but also because I thought it would give me lots of options for jobs in the future. I discovered the branch of Physics called Medical Physics at this time and thought it sounded really cool but then I was offered the chance to do a PhD (James has described this in other questions) and I got distracted!

      Personally, I found that time doing my PhD actually put me off Physics and Science because I found the work too detached from real life. So after I got my PhD I worked in lots of other jobs for ooh 15(?) years, but found I was thinking more and more “What if ….?”. So after quite a long time i came back to Science….and it just felt right.

      I like the fact that I can use my knowledge of Physics and apply it to medical problems and hopefully improve things for patients. This inspires me to come to work….well most days anyway!

    • Photo: James Hickey

      James Hickey answered on 15 Nov 2013:


      Hi stanbcfc, alfiebcfc, nocho and sweetiepie13!

      When I was younger I always liked volcanoes (especially after visiting one on a family holiday) and that inspired me to go to university and study a geoscience degree.

      Geoscience is a combination of geology, chemistry, maths, physics, biology and some physical geography. This degree could have set me up for hundreds of different jobs but while I was studying I was still mainly interested in volcanoes. So when I finished my degree I decided to do further research into volcanoes, and that’s where I’m at now – about halfway through doing a PhD. So I never really set out with the aim of being a ‘scientist’ I was just following the stuff I was interested in, and ended up becoming a scientist – but a volcano scientist 😀 .

      In case you don’t know, a PhD is further research about a specific topic (like volcanoes, or medical microbiology) and when you finish you become a ‘Doctor’ of your subject.

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