Story Monsters Ink magazine February 2018

Page 30

Feature Story

Sparking Imagination with Stellar Science by Paul Ian Cross

Science and art are often seen as opposites at different ends of a spectrum, yet they have a lot in common. They both require a creative mindset. They need careful study of a subject or art form to gain knowledge and experience. They require the development of technical skills, which take many years to perfect, meaning it’s often a long time before someone is able to make a breakthrough or create their masterpiece. When these two opposing sides are brought together, however, great things can happen. As a biologist, I’m intrigued by the facts I learn every day at work; my job involves making sure clinical trials of medicines are completed to the highest standards of science and ethics. My work interests me and inspires me, and it drives my creativity, which helps me to develop ideas for plots, characters, and settings for my stories. Why did I follow a career path as a scientist? Because science excites me, and excitement fuels passion. 30

Story Monsters Ink | February 2018 |

As a writer, I now see the endless possibilities that science provides for my stories. But the journey to a career in science was not easy. When I was a child, I found it difficult to motivate myself to read, which is absolutely essential for the careers I have today. It was not that I found reading difficult. It was because, quite frankly, I wasn’t interested. When my teacher performed an experiment in the laboratory, I was enthralled. If a nature documentary was on television, I couldn’t look away. But read a book? No thanks. What happens to those children who find reading boring or difficult? They stop reading altogether, and that impacts their education and their further development. A “Eureka!” moment came for me at the age of 12, when I saw a photograph in the newspaper of a Tyrannosaurus rex chasing Jeff Goldblum. A movie with real dinosaurs! Well, they looked real enough to