When you think of scientists, what are the images that come to mind? If you have never met a scientist of visited a laboratory, you may be strongly influenced by the standard images that we see in films or on the news — people in white coats who do clever things in labs and can seem a bit intimidating.
These aren’t the most accurate impressions. Scientists are just people and have different personalities and outlooks on their life and work. But they don’t often get the opportunity to talk about them.
So to let you get to know a few of them, I made a film. I was inspired (and funded) by my time as a participant in the online competition “I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here”, in which a group of scientists has to answer any and every question from classrooms of school children from around the UK. It was a fantastic and illuminating experience. I was struck by the high expectations the children had of science and the somewhat exaggerated idea they had of scientists’ their capabilities. So I decided to try to address one last question that lay behind many of the children’s enquiries: what are scientists really like?
I interviewed six scientists at different stages of their careers. They were kind enough to share their stories of how they got into science and to talk about why they like doing it, what they think it takes to be a good scientist and, most importantly of all, what is their favourite type of cheese.
For anyone who would like to use this as a teaching resources, I have also split the film into 10 separate clips, each focusing on one question. You can find these clips on this YouTube playlist.