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