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Rights: University of Waikato. All Rights Reserved.
Published 29 February 2012

Dr Bronwyn Lowe describes how her confidence as a scientist has developed. Bronwyn sees science as being like a language with its own vocabulary and grammar. Once you’re fluent in the language of science, she says, you can start thinking creatively about scientific ideas, make new connections and contribute your own insights.


What makes me feel confident as a scientist and where did that confidence start? One of my most influential people was my maths teacher at high school, and she probably taught me from years 7, 8 and 9. I think what happened that started to build my confidence is suddenly realising that science and maths is like a language, and that teacher taught us how to decode that language.

Once you understand that language or have learnt enough of it to put your own sentences together and express your own ideas, then you can communicate with others and understand all of the technologies and techniques that you might need to use. And if you learn the rules, then you can apply the rules and then you can speak in that language.

Science for me is about magic and creativity, and the magic and creativity comes when you are fluent in the language. You can start pushing the boundaries, pushing the envelope, putting things together that other people haven’t put together, and that’s where ideas come and you are breaking the rules of the language.