• Question: how long have you been a scientist for ??

    Asked by paigehayes123 on 31 May 2019. This question was also asked by teebee, esmyth12.
    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 31 May 2019:


      I like to think that you’re a scientist from the day your born, from the day when your born you are constantly investigating sights/sounds/tastes/smells and ideas! ….But as a fully ‘qualified’ scientist, i’ve doing it now for the last 13 years!

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 1 Jun 2019:


      I’m 37, so I’d say I’ve been a scientist for 37 years as even as babies we do mini experiments to try to understand the world and learn.

      But I guess if you mean how long have I been paid to do science, then 13 years!

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 1 Jun 2019:


      PhD students (like me) can feel reluctant to call themselves scientists as technically we are still students and feel quite hopeless a lot of the time compared to all the ‘proper’ grown up scientists who guide us. But we do spend most of our waking time doing science, thinking about science, or crying about science (it goes wrong a lot) so I guess we should call ourselves scientists. I’ve been doing my PhD for 2 and a half years now, and have one and a half years to go. Maybe once I’m finished I’ll be 100% happy calling myself a scientist!

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 1 Jun 2019:


      It’s kind of difficult to decide when you really became a scientist.
      Was it when I went to university to study for a science degree? Or was it when I actually graduated with that degree? Or later maybe when I got my PhD?
      To me, you’re a scientist as soon as you make a prediction based on evidence, then test to see if that prediction is right.
      So I guess for me that was at university when I did my first research project in my third year. Which was 7 years ago. Time has gone so fast!

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 1 Jun 2019: last edited 1 Jun 2019 1:09 pm


      I’ve been training as a scientist properly for about 8 years.

      I graduated from my degree in Biology and Maths in 2011 and started a PhD, where I learned how to be more of an independent scientist/researcher. I graduated in from this in 2015 so I’ve been training for about 8 years but have been a ‘qualified’ researcher for about 4 years. It seems like most PhD students don’t feel like their qualified enough to officially be called a scientist but, looking back, I’d be happy to call myself a scientist for all of those years! Plus, you’re always learning new things, every day, that makes you a better scientist and better person!

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 1 Jun 2019:


      Since I finished my first degree, it’s 14 years
      If we’re counting all research experiences it’s about 21 years! Ouch….

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 1 Jun 2019:


      I’ve been working in research for around 6 years. Before that, I trained and worked as a doctor – I’m not sure if that also counts as being a scientist too! As a doctor, I had the opportunity to combine science and working with people, which requires a lot of communication skills, and empathy.

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 1 Jun 2019:


      I am still very early on in my career – I began my PhD almost 2 years ago. So technically, I have been working properly as a scientist in the lab for 2 years. However, I studied biomedical sciences at Manchester University for 4 years before starting my PhD. This involved me trying lots of experiments in lab practicals, which fuelled my passion for scientific research further. I also spent one of these years on placement at a pharmaceutical company, researching ways in which Parkinson’s disease may develop in the human brain. So, I feel that I have been a scientist at heart for many years, despite only starting my first paid work (and mostly independent) work recently. I can’t wait to develop my skills further in the future, to become the best scientist that I can be 🙂

    • Photo: Ambre Chapuis

      Ambre Chapuis answered on 2 Jun 2019:


      I still feel weird to call myself scientist, but for as far I remember I always loved science and always been very very curious about everything (that trait of personality annoyed my parents many time 😉 ). I think once my dreams of having a PhD accomplish I will be confident to call myself a scientist.

    • Photo: Matthew Burgess

      Matthew Burgess answered on 3 Jun 2019:


      I had my first research post in 2006 so 13 years now.

      As everyone else said though, if you’re using experimentation and reasoning to answer a question then you’re a scientist!

    • Photo: Anabel Martinez Lyons

      Anabel Martinez Lyons answered on 3 Jun 2019:


      As a ‘proper’ scientist (working in a lab), I’ve been a scientist for 8 years. As lots of others have mentioned in their answers, I do think you develop a ‘scientist’s mind’ much earlier. I was always trying to test why things were the way they were, and always fascinated by the natural world. My older brother used to collect bugs a lot, and instead of just releasing them immediately, I always used to ask to look at them. I had a cheap plastic magnifying glass, but it did work a little, and would use it to try and figure out their body structure (their exoskeletons and wings) and would draw the structures and patterns I saw in a notebook! So that kind of thing is the mindset of a scientist even if you don’t yet have formal training or a degree. Go ahead and look closely at the world around you and see what you find.

    • Photo: Deepak Chandrasekharan

      Deepak Chandrasekharan answered on 3 Jun 2019:


      I’m very lucky as since 2016 I get to do science as my job and get paid do to this. This is a lot of fun but I’ve always messed around myself too. I think ‘citizen science’ where everyone has a go at science is actually super powerful.

      The Natural History Museum has some great examples of this
      so anyone can be a scientist from any age!

      https://www.nhm.ac.uk/take-part/citizen-science.html

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 3 Jun 2019:


      I would consider myself being a scientist from when I started secondary school and truly started understanding Chemistry experiments, so that would have made me about 13-14 years old. Drawing out the compounds, testing the compounds in the lab, using litmus paper, and bunsen burners etc – you can’t become more a scientist than that can you?

    • Photo: Alex Agrotis

      Alex Agrotis answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I think I’ve been a scientist since I made the choice to study science over other subjects. So I would make that around 11 years since I chose my A-levels (Biology, Chemistry and Economics), right through undergraduate (Biochemistry) and my PhD (Molecular Cell Biology) to where I am now. But as you can see, everyone has their own opinion of what it means to be a scientist, so there is no right answer!

    • Photo: Lorena Boquete Vilarino

      Lorena Boquete Vilarino answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I have been doing research for 8 years now – that’s when I did my MSc project! I then did almost 4 years of PhD and I have been doing it as a job for 3 and a half years.

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      I’m one year since I finished by PhD and five years since I finished my undergraduate degree but I think I was a scientist long before that. I always enjoyed learning about science and maths at school and working out why and how things work.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      So long as your asking questions and trying to find out the answers about the world around you then you can be a scientist.

    • Photo: Shonna Johnston

      Shonna Johnston answered on 6 Jun 2019:


      I’ve been working in science since 1997, the year after I finished my BSc but I would class myself as being a scientist from about age 16 when I knew that was where my interest lay and started choosing subjects that would lead me down a scientific career path.

    • Photo: Ross Hill

      Ross Hill answered on 19 Jun 2019:


      4 long years! But I’ve loved almost every moment of it!

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