Ask any two researchers what separates a student from a scientist and you’ll likely get two completely different answers. Often I hear people writing their PhD thesis being referred to (and even referring to themselves) as scientists-to-be, which is surely ridiculous, considering the amount of time they spend creating data and publishing research (NO I’M NOT BITTER). But even below that level, I know plenty of Master’s students who have put together singularly impressive datasets or papers that must qualify them for the seemingly subjective title of scientist.
If you are a scientist, what made you become one? Did you know a scientist before you started to study? Did you know what life as a scientist would be like? Answering these questions for aspiring kids is the goal of the Letters to a Pre-Scientist program, which I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of for the last six months.