75 Reasons to Become a Scientist
American Scientist celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary
Memories of childhood are unreliable. I am lucky to have documentary evidence dating from the age of nine. The evidence is an unfinished novel, found among my mother’s papers forty-three years later, with the title Sir Phillip Roberts’ Ero-Lunar Collision. Sir Phillip is a professional astronomer, evidently a role model for a young scientist. The style of the novel is copied from Jules Verne; the story was suggested by the near approach of the asteroid Eros in the year 1931. Here is a sample of the dialogue: “Will Eros really go right through our Sattelite?” said Major Forbes. “Yes,” said Sir Phillip, “its speed, and its small weight and resistance, will bring it through our Sattelite, it will be a picture, suddenly rising white-hot from the Moon’s internal fires, followed by a stream of liquid lava.” So it was Jules Verne and Eros that turned my infant thoughts to science.
The Institute for Advanced Study