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At WPI, science goes on all around us all day long. Whether it’s in a lab, in the field, in a lively brainstorming session, or in quiet reflective moments, the potential for life-changing discoveries is always in the air.

But what does it mean to be a scientist? What’s it like to be the person making those incredible discoveries after many spirit-crushing failures? That spark of promise when a new approach or a new theory shows a glimmer of a breakthrough inspires scientists to try new approaches until they get it right (or perhaps make an unexpected discovery in the process). 

Not a group to be deterred easily, scientists move forward with determination and dogged persistence. They know when they are on the right track. Whether it takes days or years, they thrill in the process of discovery and in the hope of making the world better. 

We’ve asked some of our faculty, students, and alumni what a scientist’s life is all about. Their thoughtful answers are eye-opening, heartfelt, and inspiring.

Hear from a scientist: Audrey Carlan '57

Audrey Carlan '57 — 60 years later a dream is realized

Meet Some of WPI's #ActualLivingScientists

Suzanne Weekes
Suzanne Weekes’ passion for mathematics allows her to participate in many other areas of science.
Benjamin Dringoli
Benjamin Dringoli’s study of physics lets him explore the smallest particles to understand the limitless potential in the world.
Katherine Williams
Scientist and artist Kathryn Williams creates video games that resonate with players’ real life experiences.
Jagan Srinivasan
Jagan Srinivasan’s work with nematodes might be the key to better treatment for neurodegenerative disorders.
Scarlett Shell
Scarlet Shell hopes her studies of bacteria can help stop some of the world’s most prevalent infectious diseases.
WPI systemy dynamics graduate student
Rafaat Zaini hopes to make the world understand that its problems are interconnected with not-so-obvious solutions.
Rebecca Burns
Becky Burns studies the biology of the brain and the psychology of the mind to understand human dynamics from all angles.
Natalie Wellen
Natalie Wellen creates complex mathematical models to make predictions of policy effectiveness and more stable market outcomes.
David Medich
David Medich studies the tissues in the human body to understand disease and how to improve outcomes based on his discoveries.
Melinda Belisle '08
Agricultural policy helps Melinda Belisle '08 contribute most to society.
Michael Radzicki
Michael Radzicki studies the diverse factors that influence how economies function with efficiency or in disarray.
Ingrid Shockey
Ingrid Shockey specializes in the complexities of human behavior.
Lane Harrison
Lane Harrison brings big data to life by using visual patterns and trends.
Suzanne Scarlata
Suzanne Scarlata says knowing how cells work can lead to better therapies for disease.
Andrew Trapp
For Andrew Trapp, decision making factors are analyzed with formulas and algorithms.
Jeanine Skorinko
Jeanine Skorinko has always been curious about people.
WPI alumni at ESPN
"​I grew up obsessed with sports statistics so I gravitated towards mathematics." - Jeff Bennett, '94