• Question: what did you do to become a sciencetist

    Asked by dogs to Alastair, Emma, Hywel, Keith, Vicki on 15 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Emma Carter

      Emma Carter answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I did science A-levels at school (Maths, Physics and Chemistry) and then did a degree in Mechanical Engineering and worked as an engineer for a few years. Then I went back to uni to do a PhD and moved into research.

    • Photo: Alastair Sloan

      Alastair Sloan answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      To start with I did science at GCSE. I did biology chemistry and physics and enjoyed them all. As I did pretty well at them and, more importantly enjoyed them, I did the same 3 subjects at A-Level. My favourite was biology and so I thought about studying some form of biology at University. Although I liked all parts of the biology A-level, the biology of the human body and microbiology/disease really fascinated me and I decided that I wanted to do a course that was more human biology based. I didn’t want to do medicine as that was more about recognising disease and treating it, so I chose a degree in Biomedical Sciences. When I got that, I fancied staying at university for a few more years as I enjoyed being a student and having enjoyed my research project in my final year at university I decided to do a PhD, which is a 3 year long research project. It was really in the middle of that, that I thought about making a career in science and managed to get a research job in the same department that I did my PhD in. After a couple of years of researching I was lucky to get a job as a lecturer in the department and could start to research my own ideas. I am still as curious about the human body now as I was when I started studying it at school

    • Photo: Vicki Stevenson

      Vicki Stevenson answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      I took chemistry, english, maths, modern studies and physics to H level (Scottish equivalent of A/S level) then maths and physics to CSYS (Scottish equivalent of A level). I enjoyed the maths and physics, but I struggled a bit with the chemistry!

      Then I studied Laser Physics and Optoelectronics at Strathclyde University. When I graduated and I was looking for my first job, I was lucky enough to get a position in British Steel’s research centre where I specialised in microscopy and chemical analysis of tiny microscopic samples. I used to look at samples that were smaller than 3mm, to work out what was wrong with tonnes of steel!

    • Photo: Keith Brain

      Keith Brain answered on 15 Jun 2010:

      While I was at school I chose more science subjects (at the expense of history and languages … something had to go) because I really enjoy them. Through a few competitions I became involved int he Physics Olympiad programme, eventually representing Australia in the International Physics Olympiad. While I don’t do Physics as part of my full-time job, it provides many useful tools for understanding and exploring how the body works. So, I sneak my love of Physics into my research work.

      Then, at University, I took additional science subjects (Physics and Mathematics) alongside medicine. While doing some small research projects during my university courses, and in the summer breaks, I found that I really enjoyed doing experiments. Eureka moments really do happen in science, and it is a thrill to find out something that no-one in the world has known or discovered before. The frontiers of science are so broad that there is plenty out there still to be discovered.