I’m not really sure when you really start being a scientist? I’d say I really started to understand what scientific research was about and thinking like a scientist when I did a research project in my third year of university (I was 22).
I was in GCSE science class, I had a lab coat on and goggles. I had a glass cylinder in front of me and random chemicals and was stood in a chemistry lab. This is the image of the typical scientist, and this is when I first felt like a scientist. Why? It wasn’t because of the clothes or the goggles I was wearing. It was my curiosity for science. In that lesson, I did not know how I made carbon dioxide from mixing two liquids together, but I wanted to know, I was curious to know. Being a scientist is about being curious about something and working until you find the answer. I did that on that day, and have been as curious about science, specifically the brain, ever since. This is why I work as a PhD scientist at the University of Manchester, just because of my curiosity for science.
Although I guess officially I became a scientist when I graduated from Uni after doing a Chemistry degree, I think I was always a bit of a scientist… I always wanted to know how things work and have always asked tons of questions, which are the really important things that make up a scientist!
I think we’re all scientists. Certainly my young children are. Anyone who puzzles about how things works and asks questions is doing what a scientist does. We ask questions about how things work and try and find answer. So I think that I, and everyone else, are hardwired to be scientists from birth!