Question: Is all the stuff that you do in the lab, or do you do other stuff?
Marieke Navin answered on 18 Jun 2010:
I do most of my experiments in the lab at uni. But I get to do other stuff, for example I went to the University of British Columbia in Vancouver to use their muon beam! That was great. We have been to other universities as well, we were involved in building some kit at Lancaster uni and in london, it was fun seeing other departments.
I do writing and internet research in my office, which has other students and post-docs in it (postdocs are full time researchers)
Tom Hartley answered on 18 Jun 2010:
No, most of what I do is in my office. Quite a lot, unfortunately, has nothing or very little to do with science. It is a bit like the police who have to spend all there time filling in forms instead of catching burglars. They probably have to fill in a form to say how many forms they’ve filled in. If you apply to Uni, someone like me will read your UCAS form, and decide whether you can join the course, and if so what A-level grades you’ll need. I don’t actually deal with these applications, but I do run a (fantastic) masters course (you can actually do brain imaging using all our equipment).
Still I get to spend a fair amount of time in the lab, and I can’t spend too much actually imaging the brain as it costs ~£500 per hour.
Luckily, I got a prize from the University, which means that next year I’ll be able to spend much more time in the lab. Thanks Vice-Chancellor!
Pete Edwards answered on 18 Jun 2010:
Being an astronomer or particle physicist gets you out and about a lot! I have frequently worked in Australia and at CERN in Switzerland and many of my astronomer friends regularly get to travel to Chile and Hawaii to use telescopes that are sited in these countries. One of my friends even spent 8 months at the South Pole!
Most scientists also get to travel to conferences to discuss their work with other scientists, and these take place all over the world. So not a bad life 🙂
Stephen Curry answered on 18 Jun 2010:
In my case I spend relatively little time at the bench in the lab. My main role is to supervise my research team and make sure that we raise enough money to keep things running. I have to write ‘grant applications’ which is all about making the case for how interesting our project is going to be in order to convince the funders to give us some money.
I’m also heavily involved in teaching, so my days are often quite mixed. Today I got in at 8 am, read a student’s project report (in preparation for an oral exam later), wrote some emails, went to journal club (where one of the PhD students presented the results of an interesting paper from another lab); then I had two live-chats on imascientist. Then more emails, a quick run in the park and I dashed to the oral exam of the project student – myself and another member of staff quizzed him for an hour about what he had done (he’s a final year student and will get his results in about 10 days time). Then a phone call with a collaborator (at Kings College) – we are preparing a joint application for funding (deadline at the end of July). Then I had a couple of hours catching up with people in my group – finding out about their latest results – this was my favourite bit. I answered a few imascientist questions and finally headed for home at about 6.30 pm. Phew!