I'm glad to hear you are interested in becoming
a scientist! Advances in science are imperative to
the advancement of society in terms of technology,
economy, and standards of living. It is
unfortunate that more people do not see the value
of science and scientists in society, and I think
this is an on-going objective for people in the
scientific community: figuring out how to better
communicate to the public how important it is to
develop science education and understanding.
If you want to become a scientist, I would
suggest a few things:
1. Maintain a healthy curiosity and awe for the
natural world as well as various new technologies
that crop up with time. Question everything.
Question how things work, why things are how they
are. Be amazed by the world, find inspiration in
2. Acquire a well-rounded education. Make sure
to study the arts, humanities, and social sciences
in addition to math and science. Why? It's
important to understand how people in general
think and learn, it's important to have other
perspectives that will help to feed your
creativity. It is also important to understand how
your role as a scientist fits into the "big
picture," why you do the science you do, what
general problems there are that need working on.
3. Make sure to take plenty of math, and
possibly have some skills in basic programming.
Technology and fields of study are changing very
rapidly. Many areas of research are becoming much
more quantitative and less observational, and a
lot of cutting edge research is done at the
interface of several traditional fields of
science. For example, there are more and more
people pursuing computational science. But even if
you are not interested in computational biology,
chemistry, or physics, the majority of scientists
these days need to be able to analyze data
efficiently and effectively. This means you have
to have a solid foundation in analytical skills,
and furthermore, it's nice to be able to automate
things and let a computer do some of the grunt
work for you.
4. Get involved in scientific outreach programs
and activities. Join a science club, participate
in science fairs, try your hand at a research
project with a professor at a university (once you
are in high school or college).
5. Learn to be methodical, thorough, careful,
meticulous, and tenacious! These are useful
attributes to have even if you don't become a
6. Never stop learning or wanting to learn.
Obviously your path to whatever career you end
up pursuing is going to be unique, based on your
personality, desires, and habits. But I think
these are good general guidelines for living a
full life, regardless of what you end up doing. I
hope you found this helpful!
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