Lab-Field-Office Part 1

by Ed Tripp, University of Nottingham

The varied life of a scientist

The end of my second year has passed, the third and final year of my PhD has begun. Time has flown by for two reasons: it's been extremely fun and rewarding, but also extremely busy. There is little time to take stock. My next few blog posts will summarise my experience as a scientist over the past six months.

Last time I updated my blog I was in the middle of a large block of lab work. By the end I was a little stressed and tired of the repetitive nature of the work. However, half way through March the perserverence payed off and I finally finished the work.

I was extremely eager to look at the data, and I was not disappointed. Interesting trends started to pop up and the exciting period of data analysis begun. Science is not done in the lab or the field, it's done in front of a computer. It's all about numbers and graphs. I can't wait to start telling people what I have found.

The rest of March was taken up with demonstrating lab techniqes to undergraduate students, finishing a few bits of fieldwork from earlier in the year, and a nice bit of data analysis.

Science would be useless if nobody has access to your work. So at the start of April I attended a conference in York to present my research to experts in the field. A daunting experience. However, the feedback was excellent and I managed to do some valuable networking to get my name known. I also got some really interesting pointers and ideas from other scientists about how my research could progress. A successful conference!!

Another bit of fieldwork followed later in April, just to collect data about the size of my study sites. Finally there was time enough for a week of holiday with my partner and parents, mixed with work of course. It just so happened that my parents live on the way to one of my sites in Cornwall, so I could travel down there to work on one of my sites while taking some time to relax at my parents.

So the work in March and April was varied, and certainly full. Part 2 documents two further months in the life of a scientist. Coming soon...