The pandemic has created growing admiration for scientists amongst children, study finds

Black hole: Scientists discover one of smallest on record

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A survey of 2,000 kids aged 11 to 16 found the months of ‘following the science’ has had a profound impact on the next generation’s career aspirations. Almost half (45 percent) said the coronavirus pandemic has led them to become more interested in pursuing a career in science, technology, and innovation. And more than a third (37 percent) of children admit that the coronavirus pandemic has made them consider a career as a scientist – with the majority (51 percent) saying they’re more likely to view scientists as role models and a fifth (22 percent) say they’d wish they could live a day in the life of Albert Einstein.

In fact, as many children (73 percent) have heard of Professor Chris Whitty as they have Professor Brian Cox. 

The research, conducted as part of a drive to encourage Brits to have a smart meter installed in their homes, found half of children dream about inventing something that could change the world as a result of the impact the coronavirus vaccine has had. 

Three out of five (57 percent) said they’d love to invent a product to solve the climate crisis, while 39 percent would most like to discover a way for people with serious illnesses to live longer.

And almost a third (30 percent) want to find a new method to ensure everyone can breathe clean air free from pollution.

Given the opportunity to invent anything they like, children jumped at the chance to prioritise making the world a better place.

Popular choices included a way to instantly recycle material such as plastic, a way to clean the ocean floors of waste, and addressing world hunger. 

Some children, however, looked a little closer to home with inventions such as calorie free chocolate, an everlasting pizza, a robot to do their chores around the house, and even discovering the secret to immortality.

Popular culture-inspired choices such as a time travelling machine, flying cars and clothing to make you invisible were also common suggestions in the findings.

The climate crisis (56 percent) is the most important issue that kids feel scientists need to address right now, followed by renewable energy (41 percent) and healthcare (38 percent).

The research found that careers in science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing (STEM) are among the most popular dream jobs for the children of today.

Kids would rather be a scientist (44 percent) or an engineer (42 percent) than a teacher (36 percent) or a doctor (35 percent).

Two out of five (40 percent) children want to become a social media influencer and a quarter (27 percent) would like to be a reality TV star. 

Robert Cheesewright, director at Smart Energy GB, said: “It’s really interesting to see how recent times have shaped the next generation’s career choices and the impact they want to have on the world.

“It’s particularly heart-warming that children are so passionate about the environment and are desperate to find a solution to the ongoing climate crisis.

“The good news is that they will be helped in their quest by existing technology such as smart meters, which are already upgrading our aging energy system and helping our country move to a smarter, greener future.”

Smart meters have already replaced over 24 million analogue gas and electricity meters across Great Britain, allowing us to upgrade our aging energy system, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and help build a greener economy in the fight against the climate crisis.

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