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Sigal Tifferet

Senior Lecturer, Ruppin Academic Center


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How can a talented teenager prepare himself for a scientific career? What do you scientists recommend? (Personal experiences, please).

My son is 16 years old and is very interested in science (Physics, Biology, Math). He would like to hear your recommendations on how to prepare for a scientific career. Is this a critical period to learn things that will be difficult to learn later? Are there non-academic experiences he should try? We are especially interested in personal experiences of all of you scientists out there.

Let me add that my son (Alon) is the one who nudged me a few times to post this question. He studies at a democratic school, meaning that he has full freedom to do whatever he pleases with his time at school. A big portion of his choices are science-related, but he does other things as well (basketball, juggling).


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    May 22 2011: Sigal, when I speak to first-year university students, I tell them that keeping an open mind is so important. I certainly didn't ever say "I want to be an anti-financial crimes consultant" when I was 16. Be open to where opportunities guide you. Take those opportunities even if you are not sure they're "perfect" for you.

    My second piece of advice is to constantly remind yourself that every job ... even deep science ... is about people. Connect with people. Share with people. Learn from them. Work with them. Learn how to "sell" your ideas to them. Collaboration and consensus-building skills are often more important contributors to success than innovation or hard work.

    Thirdly, and more tactically, no matter what career or job you find, technology plays a large part ... and will only play a larger part in the future.

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