When I was little, I knew I wanted to be was a scientist or a mathematician. After going to college and finding out more about the fields I was interested in, I quickly realized that I didn’t actually want to be a modern scientist–I wanted to be an ancient scientist. I wanted to live in the times when being as philosopher and a mathematician and a scientist were not necessarily separate things (but like, you know, without all the racism and sexism and junk). When they were just starting to study geometry and algebra. When no one knew what the stars were or had only just figured out that the Earth circled the sun.
Nowadays to be a scientist you have to study very highly specialized things. You might spend your entire career studying a particular Drosophila gene (read: fruit flies, and yes, I have done work on a project involving Drosophila genes). Just as people complain that medicine has become too highly specialized, so too has science in general. There is just too much to study in each field to learn enough about to contribute your own studies. That’s part of what is I love about being a writer–I can study history one day, and astronomy the next. Just now I’ve been studying evolutionary biology and a bit of oceanography. Of course what I’ve learned is less than the equivalent of an introductory college course, or perhaps only high school level, but because it’s so broad it’s still enjoyable. I’ve never been one to enjoy minutia.
Okay, enough ramblings. If you could have any career from any time period that you wanted, what would you be?