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  • Madeline Topf

Why I became a scientist


I'm not the best at knowing facts. I don't have an encyclopedic memory of bird species or an obsession with pathogenic microbes. For a long time, I thought I wouldn't be a very good scientist because of this. I thought I had no passion.


I didn’t become a scientist because I liked to know, though. I became one because I liked to learn. I love the experience of something “click”ing, of figuring out the answer to something I’ve been stuck on for weeks. In learning, there is no competition, no test score or measurement. There is just belief and improvement of yourself. The motivation comes from within. It's fun.


I love learning from science people. I love discussing theories with them and learning how to work with my hands, how usually they would only show you once, and you just had to figure it out from there. I love how scientists are so independent, how nobody really can tell them what to do although they might like to, how they have an opinion about everything, and how they can fall in love with what they do, sometimes by accident, like it chose to imprint on them and now, there’s no going back.


That’s mostly what I love, the people.

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