A good day in science

So I was getting ready to write a depressing post on the tedium of writing and not getting grants and blah, blah, blabbity blah, when I realized that maybe what folks need to read is a good reminder about why science is a great job. So let me tell you about last Thursday. In the morning I gave the last lecture of the semester for my class, and afterwards got some nice thank-yous from the students saying they learned a lot, that they wanted to work in my lab, take my other classes, etc. Afterwards I read some papers from a bigwig that was visiting the department and then met with said bigwig. We had a nice chat and argued about one of his recent papers. Not angrily but definitely heartily. Then an undergrad who’s visiting from Hong Kong for the semester and had been working in my lab presented her data in lab meeting and had really promising cool results. Too bad she has to return to Hong Kong, the project will have to be continued without her. Then I reanalyzed the data for a rotation student and actually found that she may have a result (this is after she had been feelin’ down that her rotation project had been a waste) and then had a good conversation with her about how to follow up and why she didn’t see the result initially and how it fit nicely with the data presented in lab meeting. She seemed much more cheered-up, I hope she stays in my lab even if the result ultimately doesn’t pan out because she is great. Then I went to the bigwig’s seminar which was awesome and was glad to hear others brought the same objections I had afterwards. I then had a good discussion about the seminar with a colleague I seldom get to see but that I really like. Finally, I was chillin’ in my office packing up when my other grad student wanted to talk about his experiments. So we did some statistics on his data and also found he had even cooler results, which led to another good conversation. All in all a fun day spent discussing, analyzing, teaching and thinking about science with intelligent folks. And that is why on days like this I really like my job. Sure, it’s rewarding to publish papers and get grants, but it’s really the day to day aspects of the job that can really make it all worth it.

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3 Responses to A good day in science

  1. There’s nothing I enjoy more than talking to my students and post-docs about their science!

  2. gri says:

    The best thing is standing right next to them or helping when they do this important experiment or the quick pilot to test if something works as expected – and then it does.

  3. GMP says:

    Interacting with my graduate students is the absolute best thing ever about being a prof. When I am feeling down, all it takes is to go chat with my group about what they have been up to and I feel better quickly. They don’t even have to have cool data, just talking science and what they have been thinking and all the things they have or haven’t tried is enough to really cheer me up.

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