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Back to the future

What did you want to be when you grew up?

Did you have a plan to be a fireman? Maybe. An explorer? Possibly.

But what about a scientist? Probably not.

There are many misconceptions about who scientists are. In classic depictions, scientists are frequently shown as mad, with crazy hair, in chaotic labs surrounded by bubbling liquids and solving complicated equations. These stereotypes have been embedded in our society and have the potential to make people turn away from a career in science, or not even consider it.

As we have shown through our journey to get to know those who make up the Blast lab at Imperial College, London, this is not the reality. The truth is, researchers are usually far from these stereotyped images. Scientists are normal people.

But still we wondered, did any members of the Blast lab want to be a scientist when they grew up?

“Ha…no, in short! Superhero, yes; Surgeon, maybe; Engineer, occasionally; Soldier, possibly; But Scientist, never! However, it is the one profession that combines all of my childhood aspirations, allowing me to dream, tinker and solve everyday.”

”I’ve never really thought about what I want to be when I grow up. I’ve always been interested in understanding how things work. I’ve always made things and taken things apart… sometimes even put them back together! If you’d have told me then that that’s what scientists and engineers get to do everyday I’m pretty sure that’s what I’d have wanted to be. I’m pleased that’s what I am.

Discussion
  1. To me, it’s fairly obvious. Educators are doing a lousey job of presenting the joy and challange of being a scientist. Accent the POSITIVE, forget the negative! Simple.

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