This month's feature is different. Completely different.

After a quick glance at the role models we've lined up for you, you might think that we at Next Wave have finally flipped. What could a stand-up comedian, a woman's magazine editor, and a coffee roaster possibly have in common?

Besides a background in science, very little, as it happens. Which, in a way, is the point. This month's feature contributors have all done something unique, career wise.

So, if the chances that you'll follow in any of their footsteps are slim, why have we asked these essayists to tell you their stories? Because these are people who have followed their passions--and we believe that being passionate about your career is what counts. Some of our role models have turned their backs on science more or less completely, while others have maintained an interest that informs their new career. Either way they know that there's no point continuing to do something you don't love, just because it's what you've been trained for. But they also know that no experience is ever wasted!

So with the Festive Season fast approaching, we invite you to kick back and enjoy some stories which are, well, more than just a little bit different.

 


Elizabeth Burns--Artist

Determined to stay in research as long as she enjoyed it, Elizabeth Burns also kept up her interest in painting. So when the allure of the lab began to pall, she persuaded the UK's Medical Research Council to fund her to produce an exhibition based on their research.


Steven Macatonia--Coffee Roaster

When immunologist Steven Macatonia went to California to do a postdoc, he discovered a passion for coffee that has sustained a whole new entrepreneurial career.


Lindsay Nicholson--Editor of Good Housekeeping

The glamourous world of women's magazines might seem an unlikely place for an astrophysics graduate to end up. But as Lindsay Nicholson told Next Wave's UK editor Elisabeth Pain, had she found the sciences more female friendly, she might never have left. Now she's determined to highlight the issue of women in science in an unusual medium.


Helen Pilcher--Comedian

Culturing stem cells by day, and audiences in dingy stand-up clubs by night, it wasn't until Helen Pilcher left the lab that she started basing her comedy on science.


Derek Spors--Ice Cream Developer

If having to choose your favourite flavour of ice cream seems like an impossible--if enviable--task, Derek Spors's job could be your dream or your nightmare. He invents new flavours for Ben & Jerry's--within the constraints of ice cream science!


Mark West--Head Winemaker

Having worked on yeast genetics during his academic career, when Mark West decided that he just wasn't happy in research any more, he realised that perhaps he could apply his skills in California's wine industry--an industry that is part art, part science.


Friedbert Wittich--Artist

Fascinated since childhood by the depiction of things unseen in art, Friedbert Wittich studied things unseen as a theoretical physicist before returning to painting.


Hana Zalzal--Cosmetics Entrepreneur

Hana Zalzal found civil engineering and the corporate world too stifling for her inner creative talent, so she went about starting her own highly successful cosmetics company from the den of her home.

 

Completely Different Resources

A collection of diversionary Web sites inspired by the stories of our completely different role models. Enjoy! (We did!)