C r a i g  D e F o r e s t
Solar Physicist
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

If you think you might like to be a scientist, your best bet in school is to try to apply anything you learn in math class or in physics or biology or chemistry to the things around you. If you're learning physics, try to remember that every term in every equation actually means something specific about the things that are all around you.

That's very exciting to me, that we can actually write down, in some sort of magical secret code (equations and mathematics) very detailed and specific truths about everyday things (like light bulbs, bicycles, gasoline, and Rice Krispies), but that exactly the same equations also work for fantastic things (like plutonium, neutrinos, galaxies, and spaceships). If you learn the math and a very few basic facts, you can estimate just about anything you can think of, and get it right most of the time!

It may be important for humanity to learn--this stuff, but it's also darned fun doing it. I couldn't even consider leaving science for another career--it's so exciting and interesting, it keeps me coming back for more.

And that's why I say that I play for a living.

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