Unlike most skilled careers, physics is not considered to be prestigious, and thus not lucrative in Nigeria. One must be driven solely by an interest to pursue physics beyond high school level. Personally, I was motivated by my excellent grades in physics in high school. Our physics text was written by a famous Nigerian physicist, P. N. Okeke. My colleagues would call me by his name and, in a bid to be like him after high school, I opted to study physics. I was further stimulated by failed attempts to secure an admission to study medicine and surgery.
One cannot avoid challenges in studying physics at any level. However, collaborations seem to make these challenges surmountable. It is so exciting to be a part of a group of people who try to understand why stuff and things work the way they do. In fact, this century has been a great and rewarding one for members of the physics team. One of my sources of strength comes from that expression on a stranger’s face when he or /she finds out that you are studying physics. I draw inner strength from such experiences which spur me to carry on. On the other hand, great physicists also spur motivate me. My favourite famous quote by a Physicist is Albert Einstein’s:
“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”
Before a breakthrough in research, there could be lots of failures. Holding on in times of failure is crucial and can be depressing. Thomas Edison’s famous quote, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”, motivates me further. In spite of the failures, challenges, joys and breakthroughs, my physics journey to this point has been a great one.