• Question: Which scientist inspired/inspires you the most?

    Asked by ib5398 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 14 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      Thank you for the question! 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: Rachel Hardy

      Rachel Hardy answered on 14 Jun 2019:


      Probably Marie Curie- she made amazing discoveries and was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize! Although she was a physicist/chemist, hearing about a female doing so well in science inspired me to do as well as I could in the field that I am passionate about 🙂

    • Photo: Ettie Unwin

      Ettie Unwin answered on 15 Jun 2019:


      I have been inspired by Ada Lovelace. She was one of the pioneers of modern computing (and well worth a google!). It’s great to see women researching similar things to me right from the start. I use a lot of computer science theory to predict the spread of infectious diseases.

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 15 Jun 2019:


      Tough question but I would probably say that the scientists who inspired me the most were those who I wanted to work with – Professor George Davey Smith and Debbie Lawlor at the University of Bristol – because they were using novel techniques in a way to answer the scientific questions I was also interested in answering. I’m also inspired by Elizabeth Blackwell as well, who was the first woman to have got a medical degree.

    • Photo: Shobhana Nagraj

      Shobhana Nagraj answered on 16 Jun 2019:


      Thank you for the question! I think Howard Florey has inspired me – he found out how to make the antibiotic: penicillin, into a medicine that could be given out to patients at scale. He made this discovery during World War II to help people dying during the war due to infections. The discovery of how to produce penicillin as a medicine has helped millions of people since! Although Alexander Fleming gets most of the credit for discovering penicillin, it is really Howard Florey who found out how to deliver the antibiotic at scale to help people. I also think Albert Einstein is awesome!

    • Photo: Thiloka Ratnaike

      Thiloka Ratnaike answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      The scientists who have inspired me the most are the ones who I have the privilege to work with. Prof Doug Turnbull was my PhD supervisor and I was working in his lab when the mitochondrial research lab became a Wellcome Trust site. It was amazing to see his decades of work becoming recognised at such a high level. He was also knighted recently for his achievements and contributions to science. I am currently working with Prof Chinnery who is also incredible- seems to be able to balance clinical work, research, and all kinds of management positions (including being the MRC Clinical Director) with a lot of grace and calmness! We are constantly in awe of how he does all that and still has time for us. These are great role models to me.

    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      For me it’d be Ben Barres, a scientist who did a lot of work on astrocytes. Astrocytes are my favourite cells and they’re the ones I’m doing my PhD on so his research was really interesting to me. Sadly he passed away recently and it was only then that I realised he was the first openly transgender scientist in the National Academy of Sciences. He also campaigned a lot for gender equality in science and to reduce sexual harassment in universities. So he was a great scientist and great person too.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 17 Jun 2019:


      This question of inspiration has come up a lot, its not something I’ve thought much about previously. Of course, i can name plenty of famous and not yet famous scientist whom i thing have done some cool stuff but i’m not sure I find them inspiring. I certainly don’t feel like i can relate to them or that I could do what they do. I think what i find inspiring at the moment is people who are full of enthusiasm for their own stuff, it doesn’t even have to be about science. But being able to communicate your excitement and interests to someone else and to make whatever your talking about understandable is something I get excited about.
      You should google the following people and see what you think:
      Scientists: that would be people like Ben Goldacre, Alice Roberts and Hannah Fry
      Sport folk: Gary Robbins, Paul Giblin and Steve Peat
      Film Makers: Peter Mckinnon, Levi Allen and Casey Neistat
      Others: Tim Ferris, Gary Veynerchuk and David Goggins

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 20 Jun 2019:


      This is a question that a lot of people tend to ask (and it is a good one, especially when you see the range of different scientists that people choose!)

      I personally was inspired by two:

      Albert Einstein, who a lot of people have said was most likely on the ASD spectrum and also used echolalia (repeating words and phrases) he inspired me to keep going in my goal to become a scientist despite the issues I encountered too.

      Leonardo Da Vinci is another who inspires me. This is more inspires me to learn new things and try to broaden my skills and knowledge as he was so many things: Anatomist, scientist, mathematician, sculptor, painter and writer!

      You never stop learning and can always learn new talents!

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