The problem with being a research scientist is that it's not a job unless somebody is paying you, and the easiest way to get payed for doing research in most fields is to be a professor. Keep in mind this requires a PhD. 4 years undergrad, 2 years Masters, and probably another 4 in the PhD program, all the while shelling out big bucks for the opportunity. It's a little different in some fields (like pharmaceutical chem, or geology) since there are private companies doing research in these areas.
1 adult bull snake: "Dozer"; 1.1 juvenile bull snakes: Oscar and Phoebe; 3 baby red-sided garters; 1.1 macklot's pythons