Question: what type of scientist r u?

  1. You know what? That’s an interesting question. My answer would be to say that I’m a scientist. I’d then say that I’m also a chemist, and if you pushed me I’d say I’m an organic chemist.

    The reason it’s an interesting question is that science is the really wonderful thing – asking questions and working things out about the world. Which particular bit of science you do is not as important. It’s still important, but not as important as being in science.

    So the thing I like doing is asking questions about stuff I don’t understand and designing experiments to get answers about how the universe is. It turns out I like asking things about what molecules are doing, partly because molecules are beautiful, but also because it’s kind of weird never to see one – you have to *deduce* a bunch of stuff about what’s going on.

    And to be more specific, I think the molecules of nature (which is organic chemistry) are just… well.. Life itself is a collection of organic molecules, working together. It’s like an orchestra – lots of individual instruments that individually don’t amaze you, but when they play together – holy moly. The organic chemistry that’s going on in each of your cells right now is just nuts in its complexity and speed. So I find that great too.

    BUT the reason your question is good is that I also find a bunch of other stuff interesting too, and I like reading about what other scientists are doing in those fields. Astronomy, particle physics, bioinformatics – other fields of science that I don’t do, but I can see that there are really great things happening. That makes me a scientist first, and an organic chemist second, I think.

    When you arrive in a new country at the airport, sometimes you have to write down what your job is, and I used to write “scientist” but I got all these complicated questions because they thought “maybe this guy is into secret weapons” or something, so now I write “University Lecturer” and I get through customs a lot faster.


  2. I am a Biochemist and Immunologist. That’s because these are the two areas that I study the most.

    It means that I study the immune system and how it helps us to protect ourselves against disease, and I study how cells work and what happens inside them.



  1. Oh, wait – on the off-chance “molecule” is a word that’s not clear – atoms, when they get together, make molecules. You rarely encounter single atoms in Nature. Ahm – if you breathe in the contents of a floaty balloon you’ll breathe in a lot of helium ATOMS, but most everything else in the world is made from collections of atoms, and when the atoms are nicely collected into a group that exist on their own (like aspirin, water, sugar etc) we say the atoms have formed a molecule. DNA’s a long one – each cell in your body has, like, 2 meters of DNA in it – so thin you couldn’t see it, but that’s a long molecule!