Why I am a scientist

Denise Storck-schattner storck-s at it.uwp.edu
Wed Jan 8 16:37:36 EST 1997

Your feelings and reasons for being a scientist hits the nail on the 
head.  I couldn't have said it better!  Good luck with your dissertation 
and your future!

J Potter (jras at post.its.mcw.edu) wrote:
: I, too, have really enjoyed this thread and thought a bit about why I
: enjoy doing science and why I chose it for my career (assuming I stay in
: the pipeline :)

: I may be an atypical scientist in that I never felt a "calling" or a
: love of science as a child.  I certainly never thought I would end up a
: scientist!  I had a rather ambivalent attitude towards science until I
: took a science class for non-science majors my first year in college. 
: The prof was really great and made me want to know more about how all of
: this (ie the human body, ecology, etc.) worked.  So I declared a biology
: major and am now in the final throes (months!) of my biochemistry Ph.D.  

: For me the scientific thrill comes mainly from solving the puzzle and
: ordering my little research universe more with each experiment.  I am
: extremely analytical and I think that science appeals to me because it
: allows for detailed observations under controlled conditions.  Of
: course, my mother is a little disappointed that I'm not applying the
: analytical thinking skills as a lawyer.  (Sometimes when I go home to my
: tiny apartment and look at my monthly stipend, I am too. But I digress.)

: One of the greatest feelings for me has been when I've been struggling
: to wrap my mind around a certain concept or make sense of some weird
: data and suddenly - there it is.  That feeling of understanding
: something so well, with such clarity, is hard to describe but it is very
: *pure* feeling.

: Another cool experience I had was kind of a "eureka!" experience...I was
: walking out of the cold room not really thinking about anything and
: boom! 
: It was like a piece of a bigger puzzle suddenly fit...putting two pieces
: of known information together to go in a new direction.  I've even had
: dreams about experiments, or the results of experiments where I can even
: see what the data looked like.  No major prophecies yet, though.     

: Science is very interesting because it is a mental (and sometimes
: physical) challenge to solve problems for which the solutions may be
: very useful.  Creativity is used in designing elegant experiments and
: opening your mind to see that that pesky "artifact" might actually be
: telling you something important.  (Of course, recently, it meant that a
: student had been fabricating data!)  

: And it is also pretty cool to answer the question "What do you do?" with
: the answer, "I'm a scientist." and see the surprise on his/her face.

: Back to the dreaded dissertation,

: Jennifer Potter, fledgling scientist

: Department of Biochemistry
: Medical College of Wisconsin
: Milwaukee, WI

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