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How to be a good scientist?

I'm a 9th grader student and I like to play basketball and I like to cook a lot professional scientist cooking cooking

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Cindy’s Answer

I agree with Larry's answer! Scientists don't just memorize facts, they learn how to think, analyze, solve problems AND something that is not always emphasized- scientists need to communicate learnings to other people! When I decided to become a scientist, one advisor in my college said that it would be a shame for me to be locked in a lab, not sharing my personality with the rest of the world. This does not have to be the case. There are many roles for a scientist to interact with other scientists and non-scientists. Your enjoyment playing basketball or any team sport might partly be the ability to accomplish something as a group that you can't do alone. This can be true in science careers as well. Collaboration, learning and sharing is key in your future jobs and in life.

You also mentioned cooking as a hobby. Many of the best chemists I know are also accomplished cooks! The ability to closely follow instructions in a recipe is often like following a lab protocol. One thing that you might find fun (albeit slightly nerdy) is to take notes on your cooking- how well your dish turns out, what happens if you make a substitution, what if the temperature, or cooking method, or brand of ingredient is varied. Scientists need good observational skills and use logical thinking. Even if you don't document your data in a lab notebook (definitely important as a scientist) you can practice making educated guesses or hypotheses based on assumptions, first-hand knowledge and mistakes. For example, every time I bake sourdough bread it's another datapoint, whether it's a failure or successful loaf, in my kitchen/lab!

Hope this is helpful!
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R. Matthew’s Answer

I would recommend working during the summer at a local restaurant to ensure your passion is in the food industry.

Hi Matthew, this is good advice for someone pursing the culinary arts but doesn't address the student's question around becoming a good scientist Gurpreet Lally, Team

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Larry’s Answer

A very big question! My simple answer: Be curious and be a healthy skeptic (meaning: "I wonder if that statement is backed up by evidence?"). Scientist think in a certain way. They do not just memorize facts, but apply knowledge and testable hypothesis to questions. When you read an article online and its says something like: "There is a mass exodus of people leaving CA for other states" Do you ask: Show me the evidence!!?...turns out that statement is not true unless compared to existing data: see SF Chronicle and moving company data.

Larry recommends the following next steps:

Curious? Check out the "How stuff works" series:
The Scientific Method: