Astromicrobiology, Avionics, Mechatronics, Clinical Biomedical Research, Pharmacogenomics, Cosmetic dentistry…Whew..! Sound fascinating, don’t they? These are few of the new age interdisciplinary fields of Study that have caught the attention of students these days. Enter the wonderland, when fancy names of research areas combined with the high end laboratories shown on Discovery Channel are enough to leave the young minds in awe and amazement.
Even the parents are not spared the temptation of catching this pie in the sky. They too want to see their children becoming leading scientists of the world. But then, who doesn’t? I dedicate this page to all those countless innocent souls who told me “I want to become a scientist in NASA! “ Let me emphasize that all these were High School Students bubbling with energy and new ideas.
However, the key point that both parents and students tend to overlook is that all these disciplines of study are highly specialized research areas that are commonly not offered as Undergraduate Studies. Principles from various fields such as Physics, Mathematics, Life Sciences, Chemistry and Pharmacy etc. are concocted and applied to each other to develop new concepts and products. Therefore, it is imperative for an amateur to learn the foundations of these subjects before they take up specializations. Any good educational profile is like a pyramid, with a wider and a stronger base. Therefore, a Bachelor’s degree should be such, which helps gain the fundamentals of all basic subjects that are likely to serve as the basis of further research. Astromicrobiology, for instance, is a highly specialized discipline with its focus on study of distribution of life in all of universe. To be able to isolate, identify and experiment with various life forms present on heavenly bodies, one needs to be a good microbiologist first. Only then is it possible to apply his knowledge on stars. At a Master’s level, a person studies the specifics of a discipline and is able to apply his knowledge attained from various subjects through coursework or thesis.
It is important for both parents and students to understand that one may not become a research scientist just after a Bachelor’s degree . To work in a specific research area, one needs to study at least till Master’s level to comprehend a subject better. The field of research is enormous and endless. The deeper you delve, the more you would have to explore. There are many universities and research units worldwide that work in collaboration to encourage college and university students to work on research projects. This is especially very prevalent in countries like USA, UK and Australia who pay special attention to developing their research set ups. They always need talented and bright minds to join them for pursuing Doctoral and Post Doctoral research and contribute to sciences and arts.
The path of becoming a scientist is slow and gradual. Besides the long term goals of achieving specialist qualifications, a high school student must also set their goals to learn the fundamentals of whichever subject they choose. And wisely must they choose their programs, only after identifying their interests and course curriculum. Right direction, opportunity and platform, clarity on underlying subjects, patience, perseverance and lots of hard work are few of the driving factors that one must possess. And it won’t be a wonder when a novice school teenager would bloom into a leading scientist.
View of the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Home to the famous Wastson School of Biological Sciences, it caters to the research in collaboration with State University of New York, USA.
Source: EDUclub magazine