Why did you choose science?

The following question is one that I always had trouble answering as a child.

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Perhaps I wasn’t as imaginative as the other children who wanted to be astronauts or movie stars. I just couldn’t fathom the idea of choosing one career that I figured I would be stuck in for the rest of my life. I do vaguely remember deciding to be a vet at the age of 5, before I found out that I would need to cut into animals and abandoned the idea for good.

My way of thinking has not changed much over the years. Even now, as a university student, I can’t say that I know exactly where I’m heading in terms of a career. What I am fairly certain of however, is that my future lies in science.

I often look back and wonder how I came to this decision. Many of my friends who are also studying science were influenced by a parent or relative with a scientific background. In my case, neither my parents nor any of my countless relatives had interests that were remotely science related.

I believe that my passion for science came almost purely through my learning and experiences in school. Maths and science were always the two subjects that I found myself to be most interested in and were usually the classes I looked forward to attending. I also had some amazing teachers who persuaded me to travel down the scientific path.

Recently, whilst pondering my life decisions, I decided that it would be interesting to investigate why others are attracted to science… so, I made a survey!

In this survey, I asked the following three questions:

  1. What/who inspired you to study science?
  2. Why are you most interested in studying science?
  3. What are the main reasons that others are not interested in science?

I gave the survey to a range of people, including those I knew and others who I had never met. I provided them with a list of answers to choose from and each of them could select one or multiple answers for each question. The results of the survey are given below with the percentage of people who chose each answer.

It seems that many others were also inspired to study science through their time in school, with a lesser percentage through a parent or relative. What I found surprising was that many people were also persuaded to study science through mediums such as books, TV and the internet.

Most students seem to be interested in science as it is challenging and feeds their sense of curiosity. Many people also indicated an interest in their future job prospects benefiting themselves and society.

The majority of students assumed that those who are not interested in science find it difficult to understand or simply find it boring. Although schooling is a major influence for those who choose science, many people believe that it can be a deterrent for others.

Finally, it appears that most students know why they are studying science (which is quite reassuring).

After conducting this survey, I’d like to hear more about why people were drawn to science. So, why did you choose science?

3 Responses to “Why did you choose science?”

  1. Christine Hawes says:

    Yumin – I found that I could relate to the more common responses in the survey as well. It’s great to know that many of us share similar experiences and interests that have led us into science.

    Tina – Thank you! I completely agree that you need to have a true interest and passion for what you are doing. That’s the main reason I am studying science as well. I was also surprised that so many people indicated that they were studying with the purpose of earning money – though there were also many students who commented on that particular option (One such comment was a simple “pfffft!”).

  2. Tina Hosseini says:

    Great work with this survey – great to see most people have had such a big influence at school – I didn’t think people would really think that there is a lot of money in science though (43%). When it comes to conducting research, the long days and repetitive experiments won’t get done unless you enjoy what you do. No amount of money will change this, in my opinion. So I think we really need to be passionate about what we’re doing and have a general curiosity to get us through – I mean, this is what made me stick to science!

  3. Yumin Zhao says:

    From the result of the survey, I find my thought and experience are similar with most people. ^_^