The Planetary Society
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Patricia Beauchamp  –  chemist
Click for larger image " We need to renew ourselves as individuals and as a family before we can readily involve and participate in a community. "
How were you motivated to choose your particular field?
  I was always curious as a child and enjoyed science throughout my school years. I particularly enjoyed chemistry and was fascinated with atoms and molecules, what they were composed of, why and how they interacted. I wanted to understand the mechanisms of reactions. When I went to college, I started reading the detailed biographies of famous chemists and physicists and loved the way they stimulated the thinking of each other. There was a camaraderie between them that I really enjoyed. I also experienced that close collaboration in the research laboratories of my undergraduate and graduate schools. Chemistry was (and still is) fun to think about. As my knowledge increased, my research moved in varying directions but I was (and am) still interested in the interaction of molecules with each other and with solid surfaces. Involvement with the broader scientific community also became important. Chemistry in the context of Biology, Geology and Planetary Science became more interesting and now my interests lie in the Chemistry of Life on Solar System Bodies. What molecules are involved? Are they the ones we are familiar with or do complex systems exist with an entirely different chemical basis from the one we know?   Click for larger image
What can you share about your creative process?
    I like to think my creative process is based on a firm understanding of concepts and facts. Once I learn the material, then internalizing the information is very important to me. I don't necessarily think about it, I just let the information 'rattle' around my brain. I also think that talking with stimulating people, not necessarily in my field of expertise, is important. It seems to provide the sub-conscious environment for my knowledge to work within. I also do not feel constrained when people tell me something cannot work and cannot be done. When I am most creative, I have the time to think, be free of worries and listen to my own internal voice. The best ideas I have are ones that 'spring' up in the middle of conversations or when I am doing something mundane, like driving a car.  
What ideas do you have for a future human community on Mars?
  I am a chemist, but I am also a wife and mother. I imagine a community with families and a space for families. Our family likes to spend time together. We often like to be outdoors, doing activities such as hiking, running, cycling and skiing. On Mars, we have to create an environment for exploration and exercise - and fun! Indoors, our family likes to have time for each other. We need space for family fun and play - with no interruptions from external sources! Of course, we also like interacting at work and school, as well as participating with others at plays, musical events, the arts and other forms of entertainment, but without peaceful, loving times 'at home', all of the stimulation would be wasted. We need to renew ourselves as individuals and as a family before we can readily involve and participate in a community. So, I suggest ideas to ensure successful, happy families, which would result in a successful community of artists, educators, scientists and engineers. Deciding which families would fare well in such an extreme environment and how best to accommodate them is the real challenge, but if done well, this would result in the most viable, robust and interesting community.  
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