When I entered the “I’m A Scientist” competition, I was expecting to answer questions about what it’s like to be a scientist, and what we scientists do when we go to work every day. You did ask those kinds of questions, and I hope that Mark, Keegan, Clay, Ana and I gave you a good picture of what being a scientist is all about. From writing computer programs to teaching in classrooms, from roaming around the savannahs of Africa to running experiments in a laboratory, science is a new and exciting challenge every day. Scientists have to be creative and adaptable as we solve different kinds of problems to answer our research questions!
What I wasn’t expecting was to get so many excellent questions about why scientists do what we do. You asked questions like “Are you trying to make the world a better place?” and “What do you hope to achieve with your research?” As a scientist, it’s easy to get caught up in collecting data and writing papers, and forget what the point of it all is. You all really made me take a step back and think about why science is important, and what we scientists do in society.
Yes, science does find new medicines and make our smartphones work, but we also help keep that very human flame of curiosity alive, that burning need to ask “Why do birds sing?” or “Where does the wood in trees come from?” That flame of curiosity is never brighter than when you’re young, and talking with you all helped remind me to keep mine alive and burning!
So thanks to all of you for your wonderful, interesting questions, and thanks to Mark, Keegan, Clay, and Ana for putting in the time and effort to give such insightful answers. I hope you all learned as much as I did!