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Last Post 5/19/2015 1:10 PM by  Mitzi Adams
your job
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5/19/2015 4:01 AM

    Rachele S

    Whats a typical day like for you, can there be long days, short days?

    Tags: career, work

    Emilia Kilpua

    New Member

    New Member

    5/19/2015 7:40 AM
    Hi Rachel, What I find quite exciting about this work is that there are hardly two identical days! It is possible to work during office hours (which in Finland where I am now are form 8am to 4pm), but quite often some days the work is just flowing and you work really long hours. And some days you can have a break if it feels that things are not proceeding. Of course, when becoming more “mature” scientist your days start to fill with all kinds of responsibilities, meetings, teaching, student advising, seminars etc., but still there is quite much flexibility. Greetings, Emilia

    KD Leka

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    5/19/2015 9:30 AM

    Hi; I want to re-iterate that indeed very few days are identical. Right now, for example, I'm working from home in part because it is raining hard and I need to make sure the pumps in the basement keep going! But then, on my computer, I'm helping write some reports to NASA, running some big pieces of code on some data from SDO to do some analysis of the magnetic fields on the Sun, and thinking about a proposal that I am putting in to NASA on Friday (I hope). Next week, I hope to be doing more code/data analysis and less proposal/report stuff. One thing I truly appreciate is the flexibility; while there are deadlines and times when I'm not doing anything that feels 'fun', I can take a break if I have time and go hike, then read a paper that is very interesting over some tea late at night when the house is quiet, for example. It works well when having to juggle kid-schedules, for example. -KD

    Kris Sigsbee

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    5/19/2015 11:31 AM

    Hi Rachele,

    One of the nice things about working as a research scientist at a university is that your schedule can be flexible. Sometimes I do work extra long days - just last week I was at work until 8 pm on one day, and I worked both days over the weekend because of some upcoming deadlines. However, this means that sometimes I can also have a short day to take care of personal business. Every day at work is usually different, but there are certain types of tasks that I often do at work. Some examples of things I might do on a typical day are testing or simulating spaceflight hardware, searching for journal articles on my university's library web site, reading journal articles, downloading and analyzing satellite data, writing computer code in IDL to analyze satellite data, writing and submitting journal articles on the results of data analysis, responding to peer reviewers of my journal articles, writing NASA grant proposals, reviewing other scientists' journal articles, reviewing NASA proposals, and outreach (like Solar Week!). Of course I don't do all of these things every single day. Which of these tasks I work on depends on the current stage of each of my projects. Some of these things can take several days or even months to complete, so I do a little bit of work on different tasks every day.


    Mitzi Adams

    Basic Member

    Basic Member

    5/19/2015 1:10 PM


    My "official tour of duty" begins at 8 and ends at 4:30 with 30 minutes for lunch. But it is very rare for me to leave at 4:30. I am usually in the office until at least 5:30. Sometimes I can take my work home, but I prefer to compartmentalize so that when I am at work, I think about work things and when I am home, I think about home things (mostly cleaning up after the cats!). We often have colloquia during the week; this morning (from 10:30 to 11:30) there was an interesting one about polarization of X-ray sources (like M87, a massive galaxy with a black hole at its center) and how to detect them. But yes, there can be very long days as well as short days.

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