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    Rights: The University of Waikato
    Published 29 July 2008 Referencing Hub media

    Dr Richard McKenzie, Senior Research Scientist at NIWA, Lauder, Central Otago, talks about how he came to study atmospheric physics.


    What was science like for me at school? I enjoyed myself at high school. I didn't bust my guts, but I just worked hard enough to not close any bridges. I wasn't a bad kid, I would have been a kid who would have kept the teachers on their toes, and I was obviously quite keen on my sport – rugby and tennis and cricket and all those sorts of things. And when I got to university, though, I really did work quite hard, and I think it was good because you can't work continuously, year after year after year. And a lot of the people that I went to university with, who I knew were a lot brighter than me, didn't do well in the final analysis because they had worked too hard for too long, and so I think you have to work steadily, but realise you have to have a life as well. I did very well in physics and chemistry, and they asked if I wanted to do a major in physics honours, or chemistry honours, and I thought physics sounds better, and I still wasn't really interested in physics at that point. But during my second year at university, we did a course on atmospheric physics, especially ionospheric physics, and it was really, really interesting, so I sort of got quite interested in that sort of thing.

    Nature of Science

    There are many reasons why people become scientists; however, one of the most common is through the development of a personal interest in an area of science.