“You don’t need to be a genius to become a researcher”

2021-02-05

What do researchers do? Does one need to be a genius or like to study? No, not at all. In the new children’s book “Forskardrömmar – berättelser för nyfikna barn” (”Researcher dreams – stories for curious children”, published in Swedish), we are getting to know researchers as children and find out what it was that made them choose research. The stories are funny, exciting, and sometimes even sad, something that makes the book easy to read. The book aims to demystify research and motivate more children to choose to study and do research.

Graham Budd, as a child, collecting sea shells and fossils at the beach in England
Graham Budd, as a child, collecting sea shells and fossils at the beach in England. The book "Forskardrömmar" targets 9 to 12-year-olds and tells the stories of 60 different researchers as children on 144 pages. Illustration Niclas Åkerblom/Forskardrömmar – Sveriges Unga Akademi.

You find two excerpts from the book at the bottom of this article. Note! The excepts are in Swedish.

Forskardrömmar – berättelser för nyfikna barn was produced by the Young Academy of Sweden, an interdisciplinary academy for a selection of the most prominent younger researchers in Sweden. The book contains 60, beautifully illustrated stories about different children who later in life have chosen to contribute to research. Some of them are well known, like Carl Linnaeus , others are young researchers who are currently working on solving important societal problems.

Steffi Burchardt, docent and associate professor in structural geology at the Department of Earth sciences, is a member of the Young Academy of Sweden and has, together with Tove Fall from the Department of Medical Sciences and three researchers from KTH and the University of Gothemburg, written Forskardrömmar. Among other stories, the book contains the story of Graham Budd, professor in paleobiology.

Steffi stresses that it is important to demystify research. It is exciting to do research, and you don’t need to be a genius or love to study.

- We want to challenge the old-fashioned image of a researcher as a white-haired male in a lab coat. Most children’s books about research tell stories about grown-up idols, brilliant researchers, but it is much easier for children to identify with other children.

This is why we let children be the protagonists of our stories. How were these researchers as children? 60 different researchers from different scientific fields have told us their story. We’re meeting sassy, happy, and sad children who have found their very own way to research. The book also contains some explanations about what a university is, how research is done, and how different research topics are connected.

How will you promote the book?

- We will visit different libraries and we also hope that the book will be used in schools. During the school holidays we’ll visit the Technical Museum. We really hope that the book will inspire children, we especially want to reach children that have never thought about research or know that research is a line of work.  

For more information, please contact Steffi Burchardt.

Read more and order the book ”Forskardrömmar, berättelser för nyfikna barn” from Bokus.

Other researchers (apart from the above mentioned) from Uppsala University whose stories are told in the book: Anders CelsiusÅsa Konradsson-GeukenChristian BenedictElsa EschelsonFuneka NkosiMeena DaividanamMia PhilipssonSanna Koskiniemi.

Excerpts from the book

Grahams story

News from the Department of Earth Sciences

Last modified: 2021-06-14