What Makes a Good Scientist?

Assistant Professor Joshua Kritzer from the Chemistry Department and his graduate and undergraduate research students recently addressed the question “What makes a good scientist?”

The video offers surprising answers that veer away from our assumptions about a typical science student. Hayley Marcus, an undergraduate researcher, says:

“It’s not just being good at it, and doing well in those classes. It’s really enjoying what you’re learning, and realizing you can apply it in so many ways; and getting excited in class, when you make connections [between] things you learn and things you already knew about; or, you are just out everyday, and you realize you can explain why something is happening the way it’s happening. It’s just a passion and a love and an excitement for it that – once I realized I really had that – made me want to pursue a career in the sciences.”

In the video, Professor Kritzer offered advice to students considering a career in the sciences. He cited a “core desire” to explore and investigate one particular system or phenomenon, as a strong indicator of having the temperament of a scientist. He also mentioned creativity, imagination, and willingness to guess, and to test guesses, as important qualities of a successful scientist.

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