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75 Reasons to Become a Scientist

American Scientist celebrates its seventy-fifth anniversary

The Editors


In 1915 I attended the San Francisco Pan-American Exposition with my father, who later remembered that I was fascinated by the Machinery Hall exhibits, the beginning of my lifelong interest in hardware. My early exposure to science was substantial. I often accompanied my father on Saturdays to the Hooper Foundation where he conducted his physiological research. I didn’t find the physiological studies at all interesting, but I was fascinated by the electrical equipment used to measure the experiments. It was not until I was a junior at the University of Chicago, however, that I really discovered physics. It was love at first sight. Every scientist can recall the teacher who aroused his interest in a field. In my case it was George Monk. He made it obvious to me that I had to be a physicist. I had been shielded from financial worries and didn’t think to wonder how a physicist might earn a living.

Luis Alvarez
Senior Scientist
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory

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