75 Reasons to Become a Scientist
American Scientist celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary
Today I can’t imagine a more satisfying career than that of being a scientist. However, I was not born with a burning desire to be a scientist, nor even a slight interest in science. As a boy I was most interested in playing baseball, and was motivated to learn math so that I could compute baseball averages. But I was fortunate enough to get the very best schooling that money could buy in the 1960s: I attended public schools. And there, talented and dedicated teachers aroused my interest in science and math, and nurtured my then undiscovered talents. After high school I attended Caltech on a scholarship provided by the state of California. Today we see the fruits of that earlier investment in public education: this country’s many outstanding scientists whose interest in science began and was cultivated in our public schools. Sadly, our public schools have declined drastically in the past 25 years. Will we be able to find 100 American scientists to respond to this question on the 100th anniversary of American Scientist?—not unless we start investing again in the education of our young people.
Michael S. Turner
Professor of Physics
University of Chicago/Fermilab