• Question: What inspired you to do science? What made you want to do science?

    Asked by caseykenny54321 to Ryan, Aina, David, Thiloka, Shonna, Shobhana, Ross, Rebecca, Rachel, Patrick, Nina, MattyB, Matthew, Marianne, Lorena, Kate, Kaitlin, James, Ettie, Emmanuelle, Deepak, Anabel, Ambre, Alex, AlexAgrotis on 4 Jun 2019. This question was also asked by bana12, seatlexs, dylz127, jessicac, esmyth12, belle, robbiecaldwell7, ghelena, christikrasniqi, cwoods70, canhefixit, Sandra, rania06, hjoshi4.
    • Photo: Lorena Boquete Vilarino

      Lorena Boquete Vilarino answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I was first inspired by my biology teacher in high school. She told us about genetics in such an interesting way! I then started reading books in science (and science fiction) and I thought I really wanted to be one of the scientists I was reading about 🙂

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      My Grandad brought me a kids chemistry set when I was 7; which I thought was AMAZING. after that I wanted to keep doing other experiments and to find out even more about science. I found out how to do lots of experiments at home, using different household items and at that point, I was hooked!

    • Photo: Rebecca Moon

      Rebecca Moon answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      To be honest, I think I just always loved it. My grandfather was a plant geneticist, which is totally different to what I do, but he definitely encouraged me too.

      There is so many different jobs you can do with science, so if its something you enjoy, then I’d really encourage you to pursue it further. Even if you don’t know now exactly what you want to do, it will become clearer as you learn more and as opportunities come up and you follow them, your interests will get deeper.

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      My maths teacher at school! She encouraged us to think about how maths can be used in the real world. She arranged some code breaking workshops in my lessons at school and that showed me how useful the skills I could develop were, especially now we have access to so much computing power.

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I think it was my love of animals and also being really, really nosy about how things work. Which is great, because being a scientist is a bit like being a detective but instead of solving crime, you solve the mysteries of the universe! What could be cooler than that?!

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I had some really fun science computer games when I was little as well as quite a lot of books that I used to enjoy, and then at school I loved the lessons. I guess my first inspiration was just that I found it so interesting. The human body to me is still the most fascinating thing in the universe. My inspiration to stay in science and do it as a job was my grandma becoming ill with Alzheimer’s disease; I wanted to do research that might help other people in future generations to overcome brain diseases.

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      One big inspiration for me was David Attenborough! I loved to learn about nature and how things grow – plants, animals, people…! Science answered those types of questions for me and I found it fascinating! I also loved doing experiments in chemistry class when I was at school, and seeing how reactions happened by combining elements and liquids together. Studying medicine, I had the opportunity to combine science with the art of talking to patients. This helped fulfil my inner-geek and also the part of me that likes communicating and understanding other people’s lives too!

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I really enjoyed science during secondary school. We had some very passionate teachers who made science fun for us. I particularly loved chemistry and biology (possibly because there was a lot of art involved in each). I also loved science because of my wish to be a doctor.

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I was first inspired by my maths teacher, who just knew how to teach maths in a fun and engaging way (plus she was really cool so knew how to BOSS teaching). I was then motivated by biology because I found it really interesting so wanted to combine my favourite topics (maths and biology) and applied to do a joint degree at the University of Bristol. This has really catapulted my career in science and have continued researching as an independent scientist ever since.

    • Photo: Ryan Beveridge

      Ryan Beveridge answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I grew up really liking the Natural History Museum (even had one of my birthday parties there) and went on to be interested in biology at school. When I was younger i was more interested in animals and ecosystems than anything else however when I started to learn about genetics I was really captivated.

      While I was at university I was enjoying learning about science but was not sure if I would do it after university as it didn’t feel as interactive as I had hoped, I was mainly learning through lectures and reading.

      However the more I studied the more i would reach points where you could ask questions and the answer would be, ‘We don’t know, but here are the experiments we are doing to find out.’

      That was when science got really exciting for me, that was when i decided to pursue a career in science. I really like the problem solving nature of science and the feeling that you are doing something new.

    • Photo: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 4 Jun 2019:


      I used to love collecting comics from the series ‘horrible science’ back in primary school, and really enjoyed learning how things like the human body work. I also used to read a lot in the newspaper about the severe impact untreatable diseases have on people and society. This inspired me to pursue a career in science, as I felt like I would really be making a difference and helping people by choosing this kind of job. I am also a naturally curious person, and love the fact that in science you are always finding out new things. The job never gets boring, and you have to think a lot! This makes you feel like you have really achieved something when you get a good result.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 5 Jun 2019:


      This has definitely evolved over time – certainly to start with I knew I wanted to be able to help patients and that I was passionate about understanding the similarities and differences between different animal species (including humans) – this is what biased me towards veterinary medicine and science. When I was on work experience placements for vet school I saw several patients with diseases that affected the nervous system (for example, brain tumours, epilepsy that was poorly responsive to drugs, and grass sickness in horses – a nasty neurodegenerative disorder that affects the ‘fight or flight’ part of the nervous system and makes it impossible for horses to eat or digest food). For most of these patients, we had little to offer other than supportive care and/or euthanasia, and whilst we were able to end suffering, I wanted to understand these diseases better so we could provide a ‘third option’ in the way of treatment. The frustration of training in neurology and neurosurgery and not being able to offer really effective treatments for some patients drove me back into the lab. My PhD was based on using stem cells to grow human brain cells and to understand how cooling could protect them from injury ‘in a dish’ – and some of the molecular pathways that enable this might be very useful for discovering new treatments for many other brain disorders. It was also clear that many of the brain problems I had seen in my patients were very similar to those seen in humans (including members of my own family) and so I felt that if I invested time in basic research I would have a chance to discover new disease mechanisms (and ultimately treatment strategies) that would help both humans and animals. Increasingly, we are recognising that the circadian system (‘our biological clock’) becomes disrupted in many brain disorders, and so understanding how this happens may lead to novel ways of developing or applying treatments. This is where my research is focused now.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      My Mum was a vet and my Dad was a surgeon so there’s always been a sciency influence in my life, they took me to things like science museums or watched documentaries on TV hat they were interested in so that would have influenced me. I remember watching a documentary called Fermats Last Theorum, it’s actually an amazing book by a science writer called Simon Singh. Anyway, the story is about a Mathematician (two in fact) Andrew Wiles who came across a theory scribbled in the margin of a book by a French Mathematician in the 1600’s. No one had been able to solve this mathematical theory. After more than 10 years of work Andrew Wiles solved it and in the process invented many new areas of mathematics. That kind of story inspires me, not because he was incredibly smart (he was actually) but because he was inspired by the smallest of things and it captured his imagination and he dedicated so much of his work to it.
      I want to do science because I like the sense of adventure I get when i realise that no one else knows the answers to the questions I have, it’s up to me to find out the truth.

    • Photo: Deepak Chandrasekharan

      Deepak Chandrasekharan answered on 10 Jun 2019:


      I used to spend summer with my grandparents and when bored would cause trouble. I was given a book of home science experiments to do like making salt crystals, germinating a seed in a see-through cup to watch it grow, making a type of pinhole camera etc. I found these very fun to do and it was so amazing to actually watch a seed grow at various stages!

      Since then science has always played a part and experiments especially are my favourite bit. Luckily my job allows me to combine both with clinical work and scientific research in the lab together!

      Doing citizen science experiments and playing with open access datasets is now very possible and I want everyone to have a go if they can!

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