My Story Begins (Part 1): Why I became a scientist


“If you have a strong purpose in life, you don’t have to be pushed. Your passion will drive you there.” ― Roy T. Bennett

I became a scientist for many reasons but probably the main one was my desire for knowledge. I am a skeptic by nature. I want to know things. But they must be true and accurate things.

And I ultimately need to see empirical, reliable data to believe something fully.

The story of how I became a geologist though, that will take a bit longer to tell. Did I mention that?

Yes, I am a geologist. And I graduated from a mainstream university. But I digress.

In high school is where my love of the sciences began to grow. I particularly enjoyed biology. In general, I tended to do well in science classes. The topics and work just interested me. I remember how I relished the animal dissection work in biology lab. I can still see the worm and frog on the metal dish and remember being fascinated with the body parts and how they were layed out.

By college, I had decided to go into biology. I listed my major as physical therapy. My wife says I could have done well there. But, it was not meant to be.

The first semester of school a friend of mine convinced me to take a class with him (I am fairly sure he primarily wanted the company.) It would count toward my major as a science elective.

The class?

Physical Geology.

The professor was a long-haired hippie and he was a brilliant and engaging teacher. He spoke in passionate tones and talked about the wondrous earth and complexity of life. He laid out the themes, tomes, and all the reasons. There was no room to doubt all he said was true.

All the evidence was there and it made sense.

I was captured by the immensity of the scale and scope of this science.

I also knew geologists made good money. They helped find oil. And oil was big business. It powered our cars. It ran our industries. It was real, accurate, and tangible.

It was knowledge that could be counted on and believed.

I was hooked. I changed my major and never looked back.

J. Marshall

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