Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Science inspirations as a kid

  1. Mar 25, 2008 #1
    I spent some time at Stumbleupon and came across this old video of Julius Sumner Miller.
    This brought me back to thinking about others of science who facinated me in my youth. I remember Magnus Pike, although I do not remember the show he was on. It was british.I remember Magnus became a bit of a celebrity in a music video called "She blinded me with science". There was another BBC show that had 2 guys on it, I remember the theme music and their faces but I cannot remember the show. It was way cool as they would take stuff apart and show how things worked and explain all the principles behind it. I remember they speeded up a l.e.d. quarts watch by baking it in the oven! Wish I could remember the shows name!




    http://video.google.ca/videoplay?docid=-2843663067318415478&q=science&total=165259&start=40&num=10&so=0&type=search&plindex=2 [Broken]

    I guess nowdays we have the mythbusters and How it's made. Really liked those oldies tho. Any one special you remember who fired your interest in science??
    Last edited by a moderator: May 3, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 25, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    I used to watch Julius Sumner Miller with my dad.

    CBS used to have a science program, 21st Century IIRC.

    Otherwise I got my inspiration from ready the Columbia Encyclopedia and Van Nostrand's Scientific Encyclopedia (both Christmas presents). Also my dad took be to Brown's Bookstore in Houston, which was a great store for technical books and engineering supplies. I used to by texts on Mathematics and Physics starting in junior high school.

    I also received a Chemistry set and 100-in-1 Electronics set.
  4. Mar 26, 2008 #3
    Everything else seemed bland. When my class in grade school would take its weekly trip to the library, the kids would pick books like Goosebumps or other novels, I'd take a non-fiction book about spiders, or wolves, or planets, etc.

    My mom would buy me books on astronomy, because I was always interested. Not so much on the experimental part, though. I got (and still have) a microscope, but it wasn't powerful enough for anything cool. Same with a telescope that I sadly had to leave in Poland because it was too big to transport with all my other stuff.

    Just knowing how stuff works and making things was always more interesting to me than anything else. Before I knew it was called science or engineering.
  5. Mar 26, 2008 #4

    Math Is Hard

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    When I was a kid, we had these little rubber balls to play with. We got them from vending machines back then, and they were just a little bit smaller than ping pong balls. I noticed that on the first bounce, they always bounced up a little higher than half the height they were dropped from. I wondered what rule could be used to calculate the height of the first bounce. I still don't know.
  6. Mar 26, 2008 #5
    Elasticity of the collision between the ground and the ball?
  7. Mar 26, 2008 #6

    Ivan Seeking

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    My original inspiration

    Been meaning to make one of those...

    Building a Van de Graaff generator for a ninth grade science fair is what cinched my love of science. And I still have the physics book that I first pulled from Dad's bookshelf - Electricity [and] Magnetism by Sears, (c) 1951.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
  8. Mar 26, 2008 #7
    My science inspirations as a kid...
    When I was 6 my dad explained Einstein's theory of special relativity and I immediately set off on making plans to prove or disprove the twins aging experiment (you know the one, don't make me explain) using grasshoppers and a vaccuum tube system that would move a small life supporting capsule via electromagnets. I swear to you guys (and gals) I did this when I was 6.
  9. Mar 26, 2008 #8


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    When I was in first grade, I was very sick for a long time and had to go see many, many doctors. One of them was a woman, which wasn't very common back then.

    When I got better and went back to school, I wanted to check out a book about being a doctor. The librarian gave me a book called "So You Want To Be A Nurse!"

    Becoming a doctor became the forbidden fruit that moment. As I got older I found that I could never be a doctor because sick people bother me (:rolleyes: well, they do!), but I was all about science from then on.
  10. Mar 26, 2008 #9


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    My mom was a nurse, and she really wanted all of us (4 kids) to become doctors. My siblings all became doctors, and my brother-in-law and one sister-in-law are doctors.

    I'd spent way too much time in hospitals as a kid, so I opted to study physics/nuclear engineering and became an engineer. Even then, my mom was suggesting nuclear medicine. :rolleyes:
  11. Mar 26, 2008 #10
    Ahhhh The library. Wow i spent hours in the library when I was a kid. I think I must have read a thousand books by the time I was 12...lol. I did also have a chemistry set and an electronics set.. I think I took everything apart I could.. much to my mom's disdain..One later show that was good was Bill Nye the science guy.Hmmm there was also beyond 2000, a kind of tech show, and there is a very good local show called The Daily Planet. Its all scitech. I wish I could remember what that old British show is, would like my kids to see some of the episodes.
  12. Mar 26, 2008 #11


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    My Dad.

    When I was a kid, we used to sit for hours at the dinner table after we finished eating, and he would draw on napkins or any paper sitting around, while explaining all sorts of mechanical assemblies and concepts and such. He was mostly mechanically educated, but also did his best to explain electrical things and other scientific concepts. I still remember the time he drew a differential (the car type, not the calculus type) -- I was confused for days thinking about how that dang thing worked. Finally got it, though.

    And when I was about 10 or so, he bought me one of the first "How Things Work" editions, and I would read through entries on my own, and ask for help when things got tough to understand. What a great book!

    With all that learning came an appreciation for how things worked, and ever since then, when I look at something, it's like I'm looking at it with x-ray eyes. I picture how each piece works and contributes to the whole. Or, if I don't understand how it works, I'm driven to learn about it until I DO understand how it works. It just becomes a part of your being -- knowing that you can understand just about anything, if you put your curious and motivated mind to it.

    Thanks Dad! o:)
  13. Mar 26, 2008 #12


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    In junior high and high school, I'd be in the library during lunch, usually reading a book on history, philosophy, politics, and basically any subject in the humanities, otherwise I was reading a book on math, science or technology. I pretty much exhausted the high school library, so I used to go the Houston Public Library, or two university libraries. I attended a summer program at Rice University for 5 years between 7-12 grade, and I was able to check out books year round.

    Back in 1996, my maternal grandmother gave me a book on evolution and animal behavior, and I may have it somewhere (or it's with my parents still), although it was pretty ragged 20 years ago. There was a nice section on prehistoric mammals and birds. My parents would by me science books until I got to the point of selecting my own books.
  14. Mar 26, 2008 #13
    Bill Nye the Science guy! My school had videotapes of a few episodes we got to watch in class sometimes in elementary. But honestly I had no real science inspirations as a kid, I just randomly picked chemistry as a major when I went to university because I didn't know what else to do, turned out I loved it but wanted more a medical approach. And now here I am in the medical science program and loving it. No one else in my family likes science so never got much in the way of science inspiration from them lol.
  15. Mar 26, 2008 #14


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I became aware in the late '50's as mankind was making the first steps into space. There was a lot of disscussion of these events in the papers and magazines I followed it all pretty closely. I can recall watching the likes of Explorerer and Echo go over on the summer nights of the early '60s. Exciting stuff for a kid.
  16. Mar 26, 2008 #15
    Jurassic Park was the first movie that I can remember watching as a kid, and that movie introduced me to the world of genetics and science in general, even if the movie did have its obvious flaws.
  17. Mar 26, 2008 #16
    Integral, what town did you grow up in? It was in Oregon right?
  18. Mar 27, 2008 #17
    the two slit experiment. The first time I heard about it I was hooked. If it is explained correctly it HAS to blow your mind.
  19. Mar 27, 2008 #18
    Most likely my inspiration was my gradfather who worked as a physician. I loved it when we met and he would explain all sorts of stuff to me, things like the shape of a water tower, difference between two and four stroke engines and the workings of the nuclear bomb. To a certain extent I think I was kind of born into it, recalling my memories of always being interested in things seeming utterly boring to others, something that has also made me feel very alienated from time to time.
  20. Mar 27, 2008 #19
    I was in sixth grade and we were learning about astronomy in our science class. Since then I have always been interested in astronomy/physics; special relativity, nuclear fission/fusion have increased my interest in science as i'm facinated by the two subjects.
  21. Mar 27, 2008 #20


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    I have similar childhood memories about my dad. He was an engineer, and for any question I had about how the world worked, he could answer it. He didn't water down any of his explanations, so much of what he said would be over my head. Even so, I still got so much from his "science lessons."
  22. Apr 12, 2008 #21
    Ok, I found a video clip of the crazy british show I loved when I was a kid. I still cannot remember the name of the show. I am hoping someone here will recognise the show from the clip.
  23. Apr 12, 2008 #22
    :rofl: Bill Nye for sure man! I think me and you are from quite a different generation then a lot of the people on this forum!
  24. Apr 12, 2008 #23
    Mr. Wizards World was a big inspiration. The diversity of topics with each episode kept my mind entertained and gave me neat ideas for experiments when I was bored. My father and I were also avid watcher of Carl Sagan's Cosmos, Arthur C. Clarke's Mysterious world and Marty Stouffer's Wild America. I sure miss that era.

    When it wasn't television programs, it was either a Funk & Wagnalls or a World Book Encyclopedia. I especially liked the yearly reviews that were released annually. I remember a 1965 or 1968 release in particular which sparked my love of Paleontology. It covered all the periods within each era and gave detailed examples of the organisms and life that was around. That's also what got me obsessed with crinoids and trilobites.
  25. Apr 12, 2008 #24
    I never had any interest in science growing up. :rolleyes:

    I just liked figuring out how things worked. But not 'science'. I wanted to be an Architect/interior designer.
  26. Apr 13, 2008 #25
    Ha, I was/ am like you Cyrus. When I was little, I tore apart so much sh..stuff. My dad was cool with it and encouraged it, but my mom isn't she thinks its just mess making.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook