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researcher in the biology of neurodegenerative diseases at the University of Kuopio, member of the Marie Curie Fellowship Association, and recipient of the Intel UK young scientist of the year award

I don’t think any individual teachers, scientists or education systems inspired me to take up science. Rather, science inspired me to take up science.

As a young child, I always had a tendency to be curious, plus a desire to explore. In my teens, I wished to find secure justifications for our explanations and understandings in nature, especially when such understandings can have a huge global impact. At that stage, science provided some truthful and advanced ideas about the natural world. Also, it seemed as though science was one of the few academic subjects that intentionally looked forwards to find new understandings. Such movements seemed to lead to increased academic understanding, and to the development of technologies which seemed of great value in many ways.

I then put some faith in science, perceived it to be of enormous importance for all, and trusted the scientific method. By my late teens and public examinations, I seemed to be quite able at understanding and explaining science in class, and also at thinking beyond the basics I was being taught. I worked hard to secure a rare research opportunity with Pfizer aged only 17, and I managed to bring a systematic, thorough and slightly naïve approach to the project, which became surprisingly successful. The success and acclaim that followed definitely encouraged me to continue studying science.

I’ve always had a strong interest in science, most notably its implications and applications for healthcare. Science helps explain the ‘hows’ and ‘whys’ in nature, and science helps technologies improve. Both of these concepts are fascinating and inspiring.