Career in Science - an opportunity to seek answers to questions and contribute to society

  • 2023-07-05

The choice of a career is influenced by various aspects, including one's personality, qualities, goals, and desires. Each of us may have different goals in this regard. Genetic editing and molecular biology scientist Anna Kļučņika shared more about her career choice and thoughts on the most important qualities of a scientist.

Curiosity about the surrounding world

I have always been interested in the world around me, which is why science attracted me. It always presents challenges, unanswered questions, and opportunities to learn. That's why I chose to build my career in this field. Moreover, it is an opportunity to contribute to society. Science impacts our daily lives in so many ways that it is impossible to describe in a single sentence. It affects how we think and care for our health, what technologies we use, what chemicals are used in battery production. Science is necessary to solve problems and improve our everyday lives and that of society. It has always made a big impression on me. Furthermore, we never know which discovery or in what ways it will impact us. Often, the most interesting discoveries are surprising to both society and scientists themselves. That's why I chose a career in science - despite people's assumptions, the daily life of a scientist is exciting, diverse, and sometimes unpredictable.

Significant resilience and communication skills

When thinking about a career in science, similar to other professions, one must also consider whether it is the most suitable choice. In addition to curiosity and an inquisitive nature, I believe a person needs to have good resilience and the ability to communicate and engage with others. In science, the greatest amount of energy needs to be invested to answer countless difficult and previously unanswered questions. Moreover, challenges can arise when the answer to a posed question is surprising or unexpected. Sometimes, it is very difficult to accept. Especially after extensive research, it may seem that the topic is understood, but ultimately, the result is contrary to the initial predictions. In such moments, significant resilience is needed to not give up on research but to continue the search for answers. Such failures should not be taken personally. That's why it is science - we study it because we don't understand it.

Another essential quality for a scientist is communication skills and collaboration with others. Science is not a solitary endeavour. It requires a lot of communication with other people - both scientists and society. From such conversations, we can learn the most.

No shortage of opportunities for young specialists

There are vast growth opportunities in science. The more I work in this field, the more I realize and see it. A scientist or someone who considers themselves a scientist can find their desired niche. Moreover, a scientific career can be developed according to one's own preferences - working in a laboratory, office, university, company, or hospital, researching history, technology, people, or any other subject. The profession of a scientist is highly versatile, and there are always new challenges in this career. The most important thing is to recognize the opportunities presented and not hesitate to seize them.

However, speaking of young specialists in the field, it must be said that there is a shortage of them in several specialties. Even colleagues in various conferences or conversations mention that fewer and fewer people are willing to work in this field and complete their doctoral studies. This creates a certain shortage for both science and society, as the work on developing various ideas slows down.

Learning to acknowledge one's mistakes

When considering the interaction between society and science, it must be said that the pandemic provided people with a more detailed insight into the daily lives of scientists. However, this daily life often involves researching a question, finding an answer to it, but realizing that the answer is not accurate or even incorrect as we continue our research. This was the case with vaccines and our understanding of the Covid-19 virus—what it is, how it spreads, and how to treat it. Science constantly evolves, and we learn more, but that also means there are moments when we have to acknowledge our mistakes or inaccuracies. In such cases, it is important for society to understand the work of scientists. Both scientists and society need to recognize and accept that in research, there can be moments when previous assumptions were mistaken.

The World Congress of Latvian Scientists "Science for Latvia" is being implemented within the framework of the ERDF Project No. " Integrated national level measures for strengthening interest representations for research and development of Latvia as part of European Research Area."

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