• Question: Do you have a favourite scientist?

    Asked by lilymay07 to David, Thiloka, Shonna, Shobhana, Ryan, Ross, Rebecca, Rachel, Patrick, Nina, MattyB, Matthew, Marianne, Lorena, Kate, Kaitlin, James, Ettie, Emmanuelle, Deepak, Anabel, Ambre, Alex, AlexAgrotis, Aina on 11 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 11 Jun 2019:


      I think Albert Einstein is my favourite as he really thought out of the box, and some of his ideas are only just now being proven correct. In the medical field, I once read a biography of Howard Florey – he is the scientist who made penicillin into antibiotic format and allowed it to be produced at scale. His biography (The Mould in Dr Florey’s Coat) is amazing and although the credit has gone to Alexander Fleming for the discovery of penicillin, Howard Florey really should get credit for making it available to the world – which he did during World War 2, and which has resulted in saving millions of lives!

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 11 Jun 2019:


      Thank you for joining and for asking such great questions! This one is really tough; there are so many scientists in different fields that have inspired me (molecular and circadian biologists, physicists, neuroscientists)…..however if I had to pick just one….
      …I would have to say the Scottish vet Dr John B Glen who discovered and developed the drug propofol – one of the most widely used anaesthetics worldwide (it has been used in millions of humans and animals in more than 90 countries). Last year he won the prestigious Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award (only the second veterinarian to win this prize in 73 years). Dr Glen is an exemplary clinician-scientist who has used his scientific and clinical training to teach others in anaesthesia and create a new drug that has had a major impact on human and animal health and welfare, and has revolutionised medicine. I use propofol almost every day in the clinic – it allows me to anaesthetise and recover patients quickly so that I can make diagnoses and perform life-changing surgeries in the minimum amount of time, with minimum pain and distress. If you have ever undergone a general anaesthetic, it is very likely that you received propofol – and thanks to this, you will have felt no pain and have no memory of what happened whilst you were under anaesthesia.

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 11 Jun 2019:


      Wow such a tricky one as there are so many thousands of scientists who have made small contributions to the bigger jigsaw picture of science. There are certainly a number of scientists in my research field who I massively admire but wouldn’t probably be known by the general public.

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      This is a hard question! Ben Barres sticks out for me, though sadly he passed away recently. He did a lot of work on my favourite cells, astrocytes, and helped discover many of their roles and how they support our brain function. From reading about him he sounded really nice too, which I think is one of the most important things you can be, especially when you’re very high up and respected in a field. Additionally, and I didn’t even know this until after he died, he was the first openly transgender scientist in the National Academy of Sciences and did a lot of work on ensuring gender equality in science, speaking out on many injustices. He refused to speak at institutions with poor gender ratios, and tried to implement policies to protect women from sexual harassment. So he’s my favourite because I loved his science, and then I discovered he was a pretty great person too!

    • Photo: Ambre Chapuis

      Ambre Chapuis answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Interesting question, and quite tricky. they are so many good scientist out there. But, I have a preference for people in my lab in Aberdeen Fungal Group. I have the chance to work with a variety of amazing scientist as well as the best humans that I meet. I especially very respect my supervisors, two amazing woman that work hard and are super smart, without giving you help anytime you need some.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Alan Turing is my favourite. He was a mathematician who dabbled in physics and biology throughout his career. He built the machine that cracked the codes that the Germans were using in the second world war. His brilliance saved thousands of lives and shortened the war by months, maybe even years. Who knows what would have happened if not for him. The Nazis could have won.

      Towards the end of his career he turned towards biology, trying to work out why all life seems to follow similar patterns (often following the Fibonacci sequence). It’s really sad to think of all the wonderful things he might have discovered and achieved if his life hadn’t been cut so cruelly short.

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 12 Jun 2019:


      Ooo good question! My favourite scientists are probably those who I admire the most and who inspire me to be a good researcher. There are lots of individuals within my department who inspire me every day – namely, Professors Debbie Lawlor, Caroline Relton, George Davey Smith and Nic Timpson at the University of Bristol.

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      This is really difficult!

      In terms of inspiration I would pick two. one would be Albert Einstein, not for his hugely amazing work, but for him as a role model, he is widely thought of to have had ASD in some form and also to do echolalia (repeating of words and phrases). As a scientist with Tourette’s syndrome, it is inspiring to see what he accomplished and that any person with a disability can also accomplish this.
      Rosalind Franklin would also be the other, she did amazing work with DNA and was awesome!

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