the site of Adam Stevens

Loving your job

I’m currently throwing myself (fairly weakly, admittedly) at the literature review of my first year report. The part I’m on at the moment is trying to give some background context, by talking about the scientific exploration of Mars. This means I’m getting paid to sit and read about this, something that I have been paying for the gaming privilege of doing for many years, and would happy continue doing so for many years to come.

The other great thing is the reading itself. From a few different sources I’m learning about all the very human stories of these different missions, their failures, online gaming no their triumphs. It really brings the science aspect down to Earth, especially when I’m sitting round the corner from one of the guys with probably the most human of all those stories.

All of this tied in quite nicely to the fact I’m listening my way through the Life Scientific podcasts. These provide a similar glimpse behind the science curtain to the people behind some really important discoveries. Professor Pillinger was one of the guests, and I heard his episode live, which is what turned me on to the podcast.

I really think that this is something that needs promoting. People like stories and they like stories about people more than just stale science. The problems and issues andlol  fights and triumphs that we all face as scientists are all part of those human stories, and they make science so much more personal.

Another piece of serendipity – on one of the episodes, Professor Colin Blakemore makes a point about his controversial neurological experiments on animals. He says [Paraphrased] “I took my children into the lab. I realised that if I couldn’t explain, couldn’t justify what I was doing to them, then should I really have been doing it?”

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A lot of the questions we’ve been getting on I’m a Scientist have been about the more personal aspects of science – were we nerds at school, did we enjoy it, what our days are like, and one I particularly liked, “If you were to find anything on mars what would you do? (jump up and down, laugh, tell the world immediately).” Some of them, though, have required me to think hard about what my league of legenda research entails, with questions about how it would help people, how it would affect the world and so on being rather prevalent. My answer is definitely getting better.

 

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