Easy – doing the experiments and seeing the results.
Unfortunately, since I am now fairly senior, most of my work is done in an office. I do lots of writing and a fair amount of teaching. It is the members of my research group (PhD students and research assistants) who do most of the experiments these days. But I still get great satisfaction when they bring new results to discuss.
In fact I had a project student show me her work last Friday (she is an undergraduate and has only been working with us for 4 weeks) and her experiment had worked really well.
Her work is helping us to understand how a protein from foo-tand-mouth disease virus recognises other proteins in infected cells; this is teaching us new things about how the virus causes disease. She had had some technical problems at the beginning of her project but she managed to solve these and was very happy. There were big smiles all round!
Hi blondey, as I say in my profile, I think the part of my job I enjoy the most is finding new things out. This could be discovering something about the way the brain works, explaining how something works for the first time, or coming up with a new idea that predicts what will happen in a future experiment. When these predictions turn out to be true it is incredibly satisfying. Another thing I really enjoy about my job is working with other people in a team. For example, talking through plans for a new experiment, and working out how to avoid all the problems. This might sound cheesy, but I really enjoy talking to other people about what I do – so what I am doing right now, answering your questions, is one of the best parts of the job.
FUNNY?! Wow that’s hard. Probably this side of things, getting asked crazy questions by you guys! Thinking of ways to make science fun can be cool. Some lectures are funny as well, I saw a particle physics lecture a few weeks back that was hilarious! That was because the guy giving it was really funny.
The funnest bit is working with other people. Some of the most clever and some of the most stupid people I know are scientists. The former because science can lead to the world opening up in front of you; new ideas and new experiences are always wonderful and lead to some really great people to be with – they are fun. Stupid why? because I think that science can also make you obsessive if you are not able to see past the end of your nose, and those people can be quite funny too….