I'm a scientist! I absolutely love it, and I can't imagine doing anything else. Today, there's Marches all around the globe for Science, so I thought I'd share a handful of my reasons to be a scientist! It's Earth Day too, happy Earth Day!
Learn about the... everything
And I really mean everything. If there's a thing out there in the universe, there's either a branch of science investigating it, or there will be once we discover it. From subatomic particles to supermassive black holes, from the smallest virus to blue whales, and from hydrogen molecules to hugely complex quaternary protein structures, you can't escape science. And science can't escape scientists; we find out as much as we can about everything we can! Scientists are never bored. You can look at anything, wonder about it and find it interesting. I'm drinking coffee; why does a plant compound (caffeine) wake me, a human, up? It's cloudy outside; how many bacteria are up there nucleating the water vapour? I can't remember being bored because there's always something interesting to ask about the world.
Appreciate nature more
Related to the above, I really appreciate and enjoy the natural world around us. The complexity in everything at every level, from the molecular to macroscopic, is totally mindblowing. Being a biologist and knowing about stuff working at the tiny level of proteins in each cell, adding together and working together to ultimately create, well, me, you, or the seagull outside my window, is awesome. And how over the millennia things change and evolve, and continue to do so, right from however life started as a single proto-organism or whatever to me sitting here in my pyjamas getting really nerdy on a saturday morning. And don't get me started on the ridiculous vastness of space!
Have a positive impact on the world and the lives of others
This is my big motivation; I want to leave the world in a better place than when I entered it (So please don't throw nukes at each other, various nations). My current research looks at bacteria benefiting plants; one day this could be used to boost crop yields somewhere. One day this research could help feed people, feed their livestock, or grow energy crops to power their homes. Even being able to contribute in a small way to that is really fulfilling. But that's just me and my project; all the research going on today is adding up to make everything a little bit better overall. And it does add up! Look at where we are now compared to a hundred years ago; vaccination programs have led to massive reductions and even eradications of diseases worldwide. You're reading my words from wherever in the world you may be. We walked on the moon, landed sweet robots on Mars, and just found out Enceladus has the right conditions to support life. Science is everywhere in everyone's life, and it's incredible. Scientists are the ones lucky enough to help make that happen.
Think logically and sensibly
The nature of science and the scientific method brings a way to look at the world, and information, and sort out the truth from the lies. I wrote this post about scientific research, and how science is a huge entity supported by hundreds of years of research. Being a scientists helps see which information is based in fact, and backed up by actual reality, and which things are made up lies (mostly to relieve people from their money, or to control them in some way). Robust science improves the world and our lives, while made up silly science leads to resurgence of diseases like measles, and poor people losing their lives after trying nonsense medicines or faith healing or whatever.
Knowing the unknown
This is my main reason to be a scientist. I have always loved the feeling of finding out something new, that I didn't know before. I also love telling people new facts to share that feeling with them! Which has led to me bombarding my friends and family with random animal facts over the years, moving towards more microbial facts now... I'm sure they love it really...
Being a scientist means you get to find stuff out that nobody, not one person ever, has known. And then you get to share that with the world! Isn't that the most wonderful thing?
So there we have it, those are just some of the reasons I can think of to be a scientist. For me, it's the best job in the world. And the best thing is, there's no reason you can't be a scientist; whoever you are, wherever you are, you can be a part of this wonderful thing called science. I love it.