• Question: Who or what inspired you to become a scientist and what have you invented

    Asked by anon-318215 on 1 Apr 2022. This question was also asked by anon-314273, anon-318199, anon-314259, anon-318204, anon-321060, anon-321077, anon-321073, anon-318198, anon-314258.
    • Photo: Andrew Parrott

      Andrew Parrott answered on 10 Mar 2022:

      I would say my science teachers at secondary school really got me hooked on science and then later in my degree doing research projects got me into the world of science research. Don’t have invention as such. But have worked as part of a team finding new ways to make components for fuel additives, solvents, surfactants (used in soap, paint) which generates a lot less waste than previous methods – unfortunately it is not used much as it’s more expensive than previous methods. I spend most of my time now working out which tools can be used in industry to monitor chemical reactions in real time – so that industry can know how well their process is running and when to start/stop it.

    • Photo: Veselina Georgieva

      Veselina Georgieva answered on 10 Mar 2022:

      Thank you for the great question, to be honest, no one really. Both my parents are not working in science. I had really good teachers in chemistry and biology who made me really want to study chemistry. However, my inspiration came from science itself. It is so exciting to create new things and to know that they matter to the world, you can help the environment or people. I have synthesised a material that was never done before in a lab, it has really important CO2 adsorption capabilities and is potentially useful as a catalyst.

    • Photo: Richa Sharma

      Richa Sharma answered on 10 Mar 2022:

      I fully agree with both Andrew and Veselina. Teachers build the first blocks of engaging me in science. I was inspired by what was taught to me. But learning is a never ending process. Even after school and university years I am still learning – from supervisors in research, from peer scientists and mostly from my co-workers – all wonderfully talented scientists.

      I have designed methods to quickly identify harmful substances that contaminate food. I have also helped in building systems that can detect pathogens (for tuberculosis and eye infections) in the body.

    • Photo: Amit Vernekar

      Amit Vernekar answered on 11 Mar 2022: last edited 11 Mar 2022 4:42 am

      My teachers inspired me regarding science. I was always fascinated by the chemical processes occurring in biological systems. The chemical and biological discoveries then inspired me to become a scientist. I began to learn the fundamentals of nanotechnology and explore novel nanomaterials as artificial biocatalysts like enzymes.

    • Photo: Stephen Doughty

      Stephen Doughty answered on 14 Mar 2022:

      My chemistry teachers inspired me the most (and so I became a chemist!).

      I design new drugs – but its a massive team effort and I work with lots of other scientists through lots of steps where we make the new drug better and better at each stage.

    • Photo: Graeme Barker

      Graeme Barker answered on 14 Mar 2022:

      It was my lecturers at university who had the biggest influence on me choosing to pursue science as a career – I liked science at school, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to with my life, and simply chose to follow the most interesting seeming subject! Once I started doing research at university and starting finding out new things for myself, I was hooked.

      In terms of new inventions, my research group and I have developed new, more efficient ways of making molecular structures that are common in pharmaceutical drug molecules. We’re also now working on new treatments for heart and lung diseases.

    • Photo: TJ Preston

      TJ Preston answered on 15 Mar 2022:

      I was inspired by always asking questions and wondering out loud how things works. I suppose I became surrounded by people who helped me find my own answers to those questions.

      It’s actually the small inventions that I make every day that I think of the most. Changing how I look at my experiment results, such as by making a specific graph or finding new ways to explain my results, leads to inventions for explaining.

    • Photo: Ian McKinley

      Ian McKinley answered on 15 Mar 2022:

      I always wanted to be a scientist – maybe because I was good at science and maths – and terrible at languages. I have been convinced it was a good choice by the great teams that I have worked with – at university and different jobs after graduation. The work has always been fun – which is very important.
      I work in a very strange area – disposal of radioactive waste, coming mainly from nuclear power plants. We will put this deep underground, but we have to invent new designs to ensure that this is safe for millions of years. We also have to invent ways to convince people that it really is safe – which is maybe trickier. Although old designs will contain the waste, my team have developed new designs which are also safer for the workers who will build them and also have less impact on the environment. We have also worked on new designs for special wastes, like those from clean-up after the accident at Fukushima Daiichi in Japan.

    • Photo: Jesko Koehnke

      Jesko Koehnke answered on 15 Mar 2022:

      Nobody really. I have met truly inspirational people along the way and have had the pleasure to meet amazing scientists. But I have wanted to be a scientist since I was five and got my first chemistry set. It taught me that one can ask questions about the world we live in and get answers through experiments and imagination. It is always humbling to get a glimpse at the intricate ways in which nature works and I could not imagine any other job I would enjoy this much.

    • Photo: David Jackson

      David Jackson answered on 15 Mar 2022:

      I have invented two chemical processes. One of which operates in major chemical plants and makes a material that you would see/use every day.
      I really enjoyed chemistry at school, couldn’t do physics but managed to pass my Highers. But chemistry has always been fun.

    • Photo: Sophie Strickfuss

      Sophie Strickfuss answered on 16 Mar 2022:

      What inspired me is that I wanted to have a “useful” job, with real-life applications, and I could see that a career in Science would enable me to achieve my goal.

      My work is to develop new methods to analyse new drugs, so I could say I have invented dozens of methods!