Albert Einstein, Marie Curie and Stephen Hawking.
You could say that these famous names had the best careers in science. They followed their passion for science throughout their lives and were rewarded with incredible careers, being recognised worldwide for achievements that have impacted the scientific world and beyond.
Pursuing a science education past what’s compulsory in school can open doors to careers in science that make fascinating talking points. Jobs that may seem too good to be true can be a possibility with a good science education.
For inspiration and a bit of a boost, read these tips from successful people in the science industry. Eleven figures in science took the time to provide us with their best advice to anyone hoping to pursue a career in science. Once you’ve seen what a science education can lead to, take a look at the possible careers you could enter into!
What is a rocket scientist?
Many children dream of becoming a rocket scientist, but how do you make that dream a reality? Rocket scientists design and make spacecraft. They are aerospace engineers who have studied science, maths, and engineering.
Rocket scientist, Natalia, earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and went on to be a Mechanical Design Engineer where she was involved in the design, manufacture and testing of space hardware for NASA.
The foundations of an exciting career in engineering are based around studying science and maths subjects at school and then progressing to an engineering-related field in college or university.
The BLOODHOUND Project is currently running with the aim of inspiring a new generation of Engineers. We’re a sponsor of BLOODHOUND and have been lucky enough to visit the factory while the rocket is being tested and assembled. We’ve even talked to Ed Fletcher, the rocket technician, about what it’s like to work on what’s set to be the world’s fastest car.
How to become an astronaut in the UK
You may have seen the 2013 film ‘Gravity’, but it’s not just in Hollywood cinema that such a fascinating career is a possibility. It’s not easy to become an astronaut, however. It takes years of hard work and dedication, including earning degrees in engineering, biological science, physical science or maths. This is the absolute minimum requirement to become a NASA or ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut.
If successful, you’ll have a unique career that involves learning how to adapt to a zero-gravity environment and exploring the moon and planets.
Floyd Truskot is a Central Process System Systems Operator for NASA. He operates dehydrators, exhausters, chillers and other technical machinery to recreate atmospheric conditions for jet engine research. Floyd has three associate degrees and is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in science – automated manufacturing technology.
What is a marine biologist?
Whether based in the lab or exploring the ocean’s depths, marine biologists study organisms that live in the water to improve our understanding of marine species and the environment. Subjects that can help you work towards a career in marine biology include biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and ecology.
What do you need to become a zoologist?
For a career in zoology, you could be working in an office, classroom, laboratory or carrying out fieldwork with animal species. You would usually need a degree in a subject such as environmental science, zoology, animal ecology, animal behaviour or conservation.
As a precursor, you would need two or three A-Levels that preferably include biology and ideally at school you would take courses in maths, biology, physics and chemistry.
You would have the opportunity to work with animals and study their behaviour, origins and lifestyle.
A well-known case study is that of chimpanzee, Washoe. Washoe was raised in the home of a zoologist who treated him as they would a child. They taught Washoe a type of animal sign language (ASL) and were able to study how he learned and adapted to the environment.
What does an astrophysicist do?
In general terms, astrophysicists study the physics of the universe and have a keen interest in space. Astrophysicists will regularly work on developing theories about how the universe works and obtaining data from instruments such as satellites and space telescopes.
Those interested in astrophysics should expect to spend 8-10 years in post-secondary study and also expect to be in a career with few vacancies. Entry-level jobs usually require a bachelor of science degree in astronomy, astrophysics or physics. Students who excel at science and maths at school would have a good starting point.
Professor Brian Schmidt is an astrophysicist who is currently studying exploding stars and is leading a project that aims to build a new telescope to map the southern sky.
What do you do as a forensic scientist?
Become a crime scene investigator and learn how to examine bodily fluids for clues, as well as things like footprints, tyre marks and fibres from clothes.
You’re likely to need a degree in science as well as have taken courses in other subjects such as maths or statistics, and have good writing skills. You may also need an advanced degree and specialised training, as well as good intuition and curiosity – vital for closing difficult cases.
If you know anyone who has a really cool career achieved through studying STEM subjects at school, please let us know about them as we’d love to feature them in a blog post!
Find out more about careers in chemistry in our chemistry careers resources hub.
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