Scientists help us understand the natural world using observation and experimentation. They study everything from planets and asteroids to coral reefs in the ocean. Becoming a scientist involves going to college and learning more about one part of the natural world. For example, microbiologists focus on studying tiny things like bacteria and astronomers study the universe.
To better understand how to be a scientist…
LET’S BREAK IT DOWN!
Marine Biology: Studying Life in the Ocean
Biology is the study of living things, and marine biology is the study of living things in the ocean. That includes studying sharks, coral reefs, plankton, and more. Some marine biologists study just one animal and others study an entire ecosystem to understand how everything interacts.
Candice, pictured here, studies an invasive seagrass in the Caribbean, she wants to understand how this seagrass which is originally from the Indian ocean, will change the ecosystem. Since seagrass is at the bottom of the food chain, it gets energy from the sun and then many animals depend on seagrass for food, like turtles.
Changing the seagrass in an area could change the balance of the ecosystem in a major way. Candice studies these changes to make sure the environment is protected.
Physics: Studying Matter, Motion and Energy
Physics is the study of matter, energy, and motion. Gurleen, pictured here, studies plasma, which is the 4th state of matter. If you heat a solid, it melts and becomes a liquid, if you heat a liquid it will turn into a gas. If you strongly heat a gas, the atoms rip apart and it forms a plasma. We can find plasma in lightning, flames and the sun is a giant ball of plasma.
If we can better understand how the sun works we can use that process to produce energy here on Earth. In her research, Gurleen makes plasma in a huge device and then collects data about it. She measures things like a magnetic field and an electric field produced by the plasma. Her research will help us understand more about plasma so we can eventually harness its potential as an energy source. Plasma is also needed to make electronics so understanding it can also help us make better computers and phones.