Physics was always my favourite subject in school. I read ahead into quantum mechanics and particle physics and was amazed at just how counter-intuitive and bizarre the natural world actually is! Wave-particle duality still bothers me (http://physics.about.com/od/lightoptics/a/waveparticle.htm).
After my A-levels (I did Maths, Physics and French) I had to make a decision about what I would do at university. I was torn, because I really, really love music, and I wanted to do something like music production. But then I thought – what will I look back on when I retire and be really proud of? As amazing as being the next Dr Dre or Rick Rubin would be (and it WOULD be amazing), if those professions didn’t exist, the world would undoubtedly continue… But without scientists? Without people finding out how the world worked? Well, you could start to list off all the things we wouldn’t have, and, more importantly, all the people who wouldn’t be here… including premature babies like myself!
So, realising the inherent worth of science and combining that with my love and interest for physics, I went off to university to do.. Physics! I then specialised in using physics to make people better in ‘medical physics’, and then my PhD, then writing this email…!
The main thing that drove me to become a scientist was that I enjoyed science a lot. Another strong influence was the thought that by being a scientist I might be able to find out something that would help people, and make a difference in the world.