How to become a scientist

  1. To become a scientist it takes about 10years maby more depending where you want to specialize.

    At all these 10 years I will need a job to make the money for my education. If anyone is working there way up or is already, where do you or did you get your money for education. If from a job what job.

    Im in highschool right now grade11. Iam taking physics, chemistry, math, English this semester. Previously (relevant) courses I took are biology + prerequisites for all those.

    Why is physical education mandatory, its not even education you just play sports all day. And I still have to take it. And Iam lazy and just sleep on my spare time.
  2. jcsd
  3. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Once you have your undergrad degree, for which you may or may not have to pay for your education depending on scholarships you might receive, in the sciences, you get paid for going to grad school. It's nowhere near what you'd earn if you got a job straight out of college, but when you consider you're getting an education as well, it's a pretty decent arrangement.

    That's why it's mandatory, to get the lazy kids up off their bums at least a few hours a week.
  4. being lazy is why you have to take PE. you wouldn't get any exercise without it. Take more English classes to get your spelling and grammar above a 5th grade level and start filling out forms for scholarships and grants. Look for a boring job where you can do your homework while you are sitting around (gas station cashier, security) or look for a job that reimburses you for college. There are a lot of companies out there that will do that.
  5. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,202
    Gold Member

    You dont become a scientist to make money, and if you wondering where you'll be working after your undergraduate (Bachelors) education and between grad school here is a list of places:
    WalMart, Subway (Eat Fresh), Lab monkey, plumber (especially if you majored in Civil, Environmental, or Chemical engineering), bartender, DJ (especially applicable if you hold BSEE or BSME), drafter, maybe even as a junior engineer or a lab technician
  6. then how do you make money as a scientist?

    Or perhaps I did that to emphasize my lazyness :wink:
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  7. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,202
    Gold Member

    You dont. You become an engineer, and if you are intelligent enough and patent some of your genius revelations, you'll make some money
  8. :grumpy: What's with all this whinning on scientists not making any money. Trust me, there are lots of engineers that do ordinary desk jobs all the time. Having an engineering degree does not mean you are a good engineer. Like i said before, lots of physicists are doing "engineering"-like jobs in various fields like semi-conductors, photonics, micro-electronics. They do the interesting stuff like looking at the frontiers of material science : what are the possible applications of one type of material.

    To the original poster, i suggest you browse through my journal and look for the "what is a physicist"-entry (i think it is on the 3rd or 4th page). I listed some links there with official statistics on science earnings. Don't worry about money. if you are any good and you have some management-brain, you'll make lots of it...

    Trust me on that, been there, done that :wink: do what you are really interested in...follow your heart...

  9. Yeah, I don't study physics to become a rich man. I study physics because it is fascinating.
  10. cronxeh

    cronxeh 1,202
    Gold Member

    marlon always misses my point.

    if you are a scientist who is starting to make money, chances are you are now an engineer
  11. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Life has many sides, and you need some skill at all of them. Mant people become mathematicians or scientists purely because they love the work, and they are content if they make enough money to spend most of their time doing the research work they love.

    But this is rare, and getting more rare under an administration run by luddites like the current one. Scientists also have children, and when they start to grow up, suddenly the scientist needs to put food regularly on the table, and then also pay for the very expensive education of the budding young potential scientist in the family.

    In the 1960's when I was young student, Jack Kennedy was in the white house, and life was very different indeed. Corporations were encouraged to put up merit scholarship money for bright kids to go to the best schools, and places like Harvard and Princeton, began to be home to poor kids who had the ambition and talent to study hard enough to excel. Many of us went to such schools even though we could not even afford the train tickets to get there and had to hitchike back and forth.

    Nowadays a "merit scholarship" pays only a couple of thousand a year, as compared to more than full tuition at Harvard in the 1960's, which would translate into over $30,000 a year now.

    So if you want to be a scientist, you must do it because you love it, but you must also be aware that survival is important. As simple a thing as physical education is useful, since scientists sometimes work 30 or 40 hours in a row, and you cannot do that if you are physically unfit.

    It is also wise to have a skill that is worth money, such as computer or network savvy, so you can moonlight and actually earn something. In my job, the people with the best research track records are often barewly keeping heads above water, while those who have had less research succes but who have taught themselves computer skills, often by simply teaching the numerical analysis courses are better off.

    Everyone, especially poor people, needs to know how to shop wisely, cook reasonably, and maintain a car, or even a house. If you can even train a dog, you can earn extra money.

    You also need to learn to write clearly and persuasively, so you can communicate with others, and possibly attract grant money for your work.

    by the way, I hope you are joking, as there are no lazy but successful scientists. If you are interested in money and science, you might tilt toward the biological and medical sciences. Some decades ago at least it was reported that something like 51% of all federal research moneu was in those fields, while physical and mathematical sciences accounted for only 1.7%.

    Some university administrators evaluate research quality literally by the dollar amount of grant money attracted, so by that metric, a mediocre scientist who brings in large grants could be better regarded than a brilliant one who does not.

    but to be happy in your work, you have to choose it because it facinates you, not because it pays well. Still you cannot afford to let finances force you out of your field. this balancing act takes some thought and skill.

    By the way, education is cheap, or even free, for the truly exceptional student. Strive to be that student and professors will go out of their way to teach you, and graduate programs will pay you to attend. Well funded researchers will support you to work with them. But lazy students will not have this experience.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  12. The most important thing is to work without too much stress. Find a job that can give you less stress. Otherwise, you will want to retire early.
  13. If I was truly lazy I wouldn't be trying.
    I don't know what conclusions people have come up about me, heres about me:

    I like to play tennis,
    I like physics,
    I like joking around - who doesn't?( I live on a chair, I sit on it, eat on it, study on it, and use it for other mobile perposes :wink: )

    I am lazy - when I say this what I mean is to find the laziest valid solution. E.g. recently I learned about functions in math. Now I just write down a formula once.

    This was just a joke on me. If it was true I would be sleeping now. The first time I took it all spots were filled, second type all spots were filled, third time it canceled. They needed about 2 more people to join the course. I just joke about it as being lazy.

    Currently I have joined a programming contest, math contest, and trying to join a biology contest, my teacher was discouraging every grade11 student from joining it to make sure there is enough room for grade12 students that want it. I found this out because one teacher came into my class and I asked for more info and thats what he said.

    Clearly now we may see that I am not lazy. I just say I am (lazy stupid etc...) for the fun of it.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2005
  14. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    don't worry about our opinion of you. that seems to be all you have been concerned with. what about heeding the advice?
  15. any suggestions as to how i could improve my writing skills? i personally do not like writing essays due to the fact that i am not really good at writing and it takes a lot of effort on my part to write a decent paper....
  16. mathwonk

    mathwonk 9,954
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    just keep at it. it always takes a lot of work. writing is hard work. i went to a liberal arts college thinking i could write, and just got royally reamed on all my early work (I still remember the first comment: "Unoriginal and dull. Where are YOU in this essay?!), and even my later work. i took courses in shakespeare and "bildungsroman" and philosophy, and so on, and eventually got better. now my writing is probably ok, but it takes enormous work. i rewrite and rewrite everything that has to be good.
  17. Moonbear

    Moonbear 11,955
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Persevering when the going gets rough is a really important trait in a scientist. If your writing needs improvement, keep forcing yourself to work on it. In science, you'll face a lot more criticism than accolades, some of it warranted, some of it not. The ability and inner strength to keep moving forward despite that is what makes the difference between someone who is successful in science and someone who finds another career.

    To primarygun, science is stressful. Even if you enjoy it, there are a lot of pressures. If you love it, you'll be able to handle the stress (see perseverance comment above).

    To eax, I don't know if you really think you're lazy or just joking around, but you won't succeed in science if you aren't willing to work hard. You work long hours, face challenges that nobody else has faced (or it wouldn't be science, it would be history), and find solutions to problems nobody else has solved. It's an amazing rush when you succeed, there's the thrill of the challenge as you're working toward a solution, and doing anything else with your time would seem boring, but, there's no question it's hard work and can wear you down when things aren't working well. I guess you have to be a little stubborn even. If your personality is such that you don't roll with the punches well and don't like being pushed out of your comfort zone, science isn't for you.

    On the other hand, if you like having everything well defined and enjoy a little science, but don't really feel you have what it takes to be truly innovative, there is always a need for technicians. They carry out a lot of the routine lab work that is essential to completion of experiments, but don't really develop any of the ideas or design the experiments, they more or less follow recipes. An experienced technician does know when to question a method or technique and can offer good advice about feasibility, but they always need to check their ideas with the investigator to ensure there isn't a good reason for doing things differently. Most technicians have a master's degree, but some have only a bachelor's degree and learn more as they do the job.
  18. how does being an engineer compare to being a scientist??? does engineering require less work?
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2005

  19. My older brother is doing biomedical engineering at the moment, and i think he does as much work as a scientist, if not more.
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