One day, I shall invent something really cool, something that will change the world for better. Just like any other child who loves science, I had ideas like making a flying car or a cape that will make me invisible or a gadget that can take me to the future or the past. When I was a kid, I too dreamt of becoming a scientist. But eventually, I was discouraged by grown-ups around me they said it’s too difficult and unworthy. They wanted me to just study the textbook content and complete my assignments on time. And as I grew older, according to them I became more realistic, more normal. Eventually, I was convinced enough to pursue Engineering in Computer Science to get a high-paying job.

 

Abdullah Patel

I think it’s a typical narrative that may resonate with most of us; but today, the concern is about the current batch of school-going children. This came back to me when I received a small card from one of my students (You can see the green card in the post). How honest and innocent are kids? It was a surprise for me to know that they think of me as a scientist! And now they expect me to tell them ‘How to become a scientist‘!

First things first, I told them “I am not a scientist but yes, I can help you to become one because I am your teacher”. I want them to have high aspirations in life, not just settle for mediocrity. I want to see them become Vyomanaut (Indian astronauts) and not just pilots, a scientists not just an engineer. I think their high potential deserves much more motivation and guidance from us. Our country needs more scientist. Check the info-graphics below:

Coming back to us as grown-ups of these children, let us get clear from the common misperception of becoming a scientist:

 

who-knew-mad-scientist-pa

On the side is a stereotyped image of a scientist that picturizes them as disconnected humans on the planet, can’t enjoy life, mad at their work, always serious and gray-haired individuals holding a flask or a test-tube filled with colourful chemicals which are about to explode anytime…BANG!

Scientists, in reality, are children fascinated by science who after completing their school education do their bachelor’s and master’s degree in the subject of their interests. They further go on to do research by applying for a doctoral program (Ph.D.) in a university. Basically, there is no degree called ‘scientist’ but a designation one achieves.

That was all about formal degrees and education, this question still remains unanswered. What will they invent, today? Most of us including me (for years) believed that we as humans have invented everything. Famous scientists like Einstein and Newton has invented or discovered almost everything. There is no further scope for anyone else. Until I started reading biographies of scientists – starting from Dmitri Mendeleev to Issac Newton to Dr. A.P.J. Abdulkalam; and the most recent was Crick and Watson, yes the duo who discovered the double helix structure of DNA. Actually, the writer at pennations.com gifted me this interesting book, ‘They Changed the World’. The book beautifully connects the life of different scientist living in the same era and talks about their real life challenges from personal to professional. A good read for our little aspiring scientists.

book title campfire

Coming back to the question, after reading the biographies, I realized the world has always been the same. All the great personalities began by reading and working on existing ideas and projects. Even in their times, it was assumed that everything has been invented; because you don’t miss something which doesn’t exist yet. So, believe me, there are things yet to be discovered or invented and the ones who are going to do that are now in our schools. As humans, we have always chased the impossible – right from caves, we stepped on to the moon, now on Mars and the entire universe is still waiting for us.

A special quiz for you, go to join.quizizz.com and enter the code – 741207 and enjoy the quiz. O Budding Scientists of the World, know your role models well!

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Sahil Sayed is Educator, Teacher, and Learner. An engineer who understood science and mathematics little better after teaching primary grades for 3 years. Currently heading Science, Mathematics and ICT department at Red Camel International School, India. – sahil@redcamel.in