t’s not often that I write a post based on a TV show. Bear with me on this.
The BBC have just started showing ‘Sherlock’, a contemporary (and very good, so far) update of the Sherlock Holmes stories of Arthur Conan Doyle. And it got me thinking about the inspirations that originally made me want to be a scientist.
Like many people who end up being scientists, I was inspired by stories of the great scientists and their discoveries. I admired Einstein and Feynmann, I used to have undergraduate lectures near where Crick and Watson figured out the structure of DNA - the list goes on.
But my primary inspiration in how to think like a scientist wasn’t a scientist. And he wasn’t even a real person. Holmes’ deductive reasoning has always struck a chord with me and it’s the best written description I know of concerning how to think like a scientist. The focus and precision of it, the attention to detail and the fact Holmes treats it as a craft to be honed.
There are many very good science texts that the aspiring scientist should read. I’d suggest that it’s also worth spending some time reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, for the simple reason that in order to be a scientist you need to think like a scientist!