Skip to main content

Science Hobbyist

Insider Info

Rather than tossing a football around or trading Pokemon cards, science lovers join clubs and conduct experiments to fine-tune their love of the universe and quench their curiosity.

Do you like gazing at stars, wondering what's beyond the great Milky Way? Perhaps finding remnants of other cultures is more your thing -- unearthing finds that archeologists use to piece together ancient and not-so-ancient civilizations.

Those who are curious about the world don't have to wait until science class to conduct their own experiments. Through science clubs, where science lovers gather, you and other members can do your own digging about the universe.

Many science clubs meet in a classroom. But field trips are common. If you are in an astronomy club, for example, you could find yourself outside of the city limits on a stargazing expedition.

"Our club hosts talks by astronomers and physicists every other week," says Julie Tome. "The meetings generally last about an hour. It's an opportunity to meet with people who have similar interests as I do and to learn about astronomy and physics outside of a classroom situation."

In addition, Tome says there are special activities. For example, the York University Astronomy Physics Club is trying to organize the Messier Marathon. "The Messier Catalog contains 109 celestial objects that Charles Messier came across while searching for comets," explains Tome.

For the marathon, members will spend the night in York's observatory trying to observe as many of these objects as possible. The goal is to observe them all, she says. "The more people there, the more fun we'll have!"

If you are interested in archeology, you will probably spend a lot of time outdoors, says Allen Dart. He developed an interest in archeology at a young age and is now a professional archeologist. Archeology is a lot like finding treasures, he says, only the museum keeps the finds so that researchers can further their knowledge about our world.

Rebecca Schneider runs the Atmospheric Science Club. She says the club has meetings, but they also go on tours. Outings, she says, happen every month or two.

Science seems to be piquing the interest of many. Thirty-nine of the 689 most closely followed news stories from 1986 to 1999 were science-related, according to the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Weather was the subject of 12 stories, including events like hurricane Andrew. Ten stories involve coverage of space exploration, including the lead story of the period studied, the explosion of the space shuttle Challenger.

Four news stories are about earthquakes and the damage they cause. Two are about problems at nuclear reactor plants. Health is the subject of six stories, and three are about efforts to clone animals and people.

"I do think more and more young people are becoming active in science and other hobbies," says Schneider. She notes that enrollment seems to be higher in the science club that she runs.

Dart says that there is an increased interest in archeology, as seen by the number of people graduating with anthropology degrees.

Getting Started

The best part about having an interest in science is it can cost nothing to get started. Joining a club is free or it can have a small membership fee. Membership to the Society for Amateur Scientists is $35 annually. When participating in special club activities, you may have to pay a slight fee, such as your food or transportation, say enthusiasts.

Besides becoming members of science clubs, the enthusiasts recommend that those interested in science subscribe to magazines in the field of science they are interested, which can cost anywhere from $18 to $40.

Of course, there are also cloud kits and chemistry sets you can purchase to develop your interest. According to Project Star, a science hobbyist supplier, astronomy and celestial kits cost $50 to $60.

Schneider recommends that students talk to their favorite teacher or counselor about their interest in science. They can probably point them in the right direction. She remembers that in high school she began to keep weather logs because she was interested in the atmosphere.

Amateur archeologists can find plenty of opportunities to volunteer, says Dart. Usually a state will have an archeology association that you can contact about opportunities.

Bob Piper ran into an archeology group of high school kids while doing a dig at Fort William Henry in Lake George, New York. "They, along with their teachers, had formed an archeology club when they discovered that a local discount store was about to turn an old fort site dating from the 1700s into a parking lot," he says.

"Their club persuaded the store chain to revise their plans, thus saving the historic site, and then the club successfully explored and excavated the site." So if there already isn't a club in high school, consider forming your own.

Anyone who is physically challenged can take part in many of these activities.

Dart notes that fieldwork in archeology may be challenging with a handicap, but non-fieldwork can be done. Enthusiast Jeff Cadieux points to famed scientist Stephen Hawking, who is in a wheelchair and cannot speak on his own, as evidence of what can be done. "Science exploits the power of the mind, not of the body," he says.

Science can be dangerous because of experiments with chemicals. Also, using fire in home experiments is a hazard. Schneider would recommend certain precautions when studying the atmosphere, such as not taking an iron golf club out during a thunderstorm.

Most people who are science hobbyists have turned their love of science into careers. Enthusiasts have become meteorologists, archeologists, astronomers and even astronauts.

There are no prerequisites needed to join a science club. Just come to the meetings, say the science hobbyists. Many join these clubs in college because of the networking possibilities, says Cadieux. He notes that because of his involvement, many NASA executives now know him by name.

You can find a science club sometimes "just by buying an astronomy magazine, and checking the listings near the back, or by searching on the Internet. You don't even need any knowledge or equipment to start, since the other club members would be happy to share their gear and know-how," says Cadieux.


Society for Amateur Scientists
175-4735 Clairemont Sq.
San Diego , CA   92117


Scientific American

SciTech Daily Review


The Bat Detector Project
Here is an idea of what type of projects science clubs can work on

The Science Explorer
Some science activities you can try at home

The Science Hobbyist Page
Check out the loads of links under amateur scientist

American Science and Surplus
Some supplies and ideas of prices to get you started

Back to Career Cluster


  • Email Support

  • 1-800-GO-TO-XAP (1-800-468-6927)
    From outside the U.S., please call +1 (424) 750-3900


Powered by XAP

OCAP believes that financial literacy and understanding the financial aid process are critical aspects of college planning and student success. OCAP staff who work with students, parents, educators and community partners in the areas of personal finance education, state and federal financial aid, and student loan management do not provide financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice. This website and all information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to be construed as financial, investment, legal, and/or tax advice.