Being in my last year (or even later…) of my PhD, I hesitated when I saw the advert for I’m a Geoscientist on the European Geosciences Union (EGU) website. The initiative looked really great and inspiring for both scientists and students. But did I really want to be distracted from my thesis for two long weeks?
I decided that Yes, I did want to take this time for myself, for something that I enjoy doing, even if not 100% related to my job (or is it?).
This is one of the bright sides of a career in science, you are the manager of your time, and you can decide what is worth doing. So I embarked in this I’m a Geoscientist adventure, together with my four colleagues, and all the students and teachers that took part; what a good decision has been!
Questions started pouring on us; from climate change to volcanoes, from ocean waves to the speed of light. It gave me the good feeling that our Earth still has the power to amaze and question each and everyone of us, from young students to geology professors.
This, in my view, is what science is about.
The observation, the acknowledgement of a wonder, the curiosity to push our understanding a bit further, no matter the applications, no matter in which direction; that is why I also really appreciated questions, for example, about Atlantis, or about ghosts.
Science is a method; it is not a canned answer. I really hope you students will just keep this attitude of asking questions to your teachers, to other scientists, to your friends. Even directly to Earth, if in your future you will have the chance to do some field measurements!
And if the answer does not convince us, let’s just try to build a better one. So thanks to you for keeping science as it should; a mix of everyday life observations and of attempts to make sense of them, as simple as that.
Because of the many insightful questions, I think a huge thanks goes also to the teachers taking part, who probably spent more than some time preparing the students to the event. Thanks also to my fellow scientists, from whose answers I have learned new things about our planet. It has been inspiring and instructive to share our personal paths and career choices too. I think it has been really clear that scientists are not all of one kind, they mature their choices differently, at different times and for different reasons. There are many ways to be a scientist, if you wish you can find your own.
A final thanks goes, of course, to the students who voted for me. I do not know what convinced you, if my opinion on Mars colonisation or my explanation on Equatorial currents (I hope the latter one, so I collect some points for my thesis…), but thanks! I really hope you can one day visit (or work at) the research institute where I am now, and see some oceanographic measurements being acquired on the ferry, thanks to money of the prize!
Good luck to you all,