12 July, 2012
The best mistake ever: Alan MacDiarmid is a big part of the reason your cell phone screen works. He is also the second New Zealander to win a Nobel Prize in Chemistry - the first, of course, was Ernest Rutherford who is on the $100 note.
The real creative scientist is as much an artist as the painter, as the poet, as the creator of a symphony. You love what you do, you sleep and you eat it and dream it.Alan MacDiarmid
At the heart of matter: Look around you.
Inside every object you can see lie hidden worlds as detailed and busy as the one we live in and as unfamiliar as outer space.
Zoom in a thousand times and a piece of paper would transform into a tangled network of fibres. A thousand times further and the fibres would open up to reveal long molecules twisted together like the wires in an electric cable.
Zoom inside a molecule and you would find yourself in a vast expanse of empty space. Shimmering clouds of electrons would form intricate patterns around you. Dotted throughout space, almost invisibly small, you might spot an atomic nucleus – a tiny solid clump at the centre of the atom.
If you talk to a scientist about their work, you might be surprised how often you hear the word passion.
Scientists are often passionate about the work they do. Some scientists are driven by a fascination to learn about how the world works. Others delight in discovery.
For applied scientists, like engineers, seeing a simple idea grow into a product that makes an impact on people’s lives can be the most satisfying part of the job.