My research is involved in a big collaboration. This experiment that we work on is measuring some parameters that will be in the science books of tomorrow. So although my actual work will only play a small part, it is part of a big experiment that will play a large part!
Oh yes Giuola, though not necessarily in a big way.
All science builds on work that has gone before. The process is really rather slow. Big breakthroughs happen rather rarely, even though they seem to get most of the attention (Watch out for the news coverage if they discover the Higgs Boson at the LHC at CERN – that’ll be HUGE!).
Usually when you have a nice set of results, you write up and publish what you have done as a ‘paper’. These are typically between 2 and 20 pages long and can be read by people all over the world. That, for me, is one of the really great things about science – it’s a big collaborative effort, though sometimes people working on the same problem get very competitive and there can be arguments!. It’s a bit like a real family – much of the time we get on, but not always!
I very much hope so, and indeed I know it will, because when we publish scientific papers about our work an organisation called ISI counts every time another scientist refers to it in their own work (when they refer to your work, it generally means you have influenced them, at least in a small way). Google also do this, and you can see how many times my work has been cited by clicking here. On the first page T Hartley is me (but TT Hartley is someone else). On this unoffical count, three of my top papers have been cited more than 100 times, which may not sound much, but it is pretty good IMHO.