Issue 18 Science Shoutout

Journey into the unknown: Why I became a scientist (and how it came to be)?

🕒 2 min

Have you ever wondered what it is exactly that scientists do? Why they decide to become scientists and what obstacles they have on their journey? In short, how they got where they are today. These and many more are the questions that any young person interested in pursuing a career in science has running around in their head. It’s a common misconception that scientists function on a vastly different level than the average person and a wonderful cognition that even high school students have quite a bit in common with scientists.

Journey into the unknown is a selection of thirty-one Croatian scientists’ life stories; including anecdotes that formed them at various ages, inspiring quotes they got from mentors and numerous difficulties they were forced to overcome. The scientists included in the book were hand-picked to properly represent the face of Croatian science today; some of them are more experienced whereas others have their whole careers ahead of them, some are currently residing in Croatia whereas others are living and working abroad. In this sense, the aim of this book is to provide Croatian high school and college students with a vision of modern science through the eyes of scientists of different generations and professions. (Though it is intended primarily for the younger generation, the themes were chosen so as to interest as many different age groups as possible.)

To make the book as accessible to young people as possible, it is written as a popular science text, with a more informal tone than one might expect when reading about science. The original inspiration for this book comes from Letters to a Young Scientist, a book about the passion of discovery, both as a scientist and as a person.

Journey into the unknown is a sort of sequel to Curiosity: Why young people should read science popularisation literature, and now? , a popular science book that explains in detail who should, how and when read popular science literature (spoiler: anybody and everybody, in any and all ways, anytime and always).

The aforementioned books explain in detail all the benefits of reading popular science literature and having an interest in science, but in short, the essence is in the following. Science is an essential aspect of our everyday lives, regardless of the pandemic and the current circumstances. Understanding science allows us to better understand the world that surrounds us and to, with a bit of help from critical thinking, make the optimal decisions. Critical thinking and vocabulary are two extremely important things that we can develop with ease by reading popular science literature. If we advance in that regard, we’ll have an easier time understanding and analyzing a newspaper article for example; if our vocabulary is full of “holes”, we’ll have a difficult time reading with comprehension and will therefore be more likely not to notice fake news.

In the end, there is absolutely nothing to lose and everything to gain from reading popular science literature and having an interest in science and so I wholeheartedly recommend giving it a try (P.S. the aforementioned books might be a good place to start).

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