Tuesday, 3 November 2015

What do you do?

So, there I was, sitting at work, when I realised that there are quite a lot of people out there who don't really know what I actually do on a day-to-day basis. Sure, I'm a physicist, and I do physics-stuff. But what does physics-stuff look like? So then I trawled through the server hunting out some old photos of my time here, so you could all have an opportunity to gaze in wonder laugh your socks off.

Being a contortionist

I do appear to spend alarming amounts of time attempting to get under, over or into the scientific instruments we build. This did not change, even when I was heavily pregnant.

Do not adjust your sets. I am upside down.
For reasons that continue to escape me, every single time we build an instrument, as part of the pre-test, one component is mounted upside down, at  the back of a vacuum chamber with no room to manoeuvre. And every single time one of us (usually me) has to dangle upside down to measure tiny voltages. One day I might try and change this working practice.

It also escapes me why there are quite so many occasions when my colleagues sit on a chair while I climb into precarious positions to sort things out. 

Here, let me get that for you.
Now you mention it, this step-ladder is quite painful
 Or under things:

No, I'm fine, it's quite comfy in here thanks.

You do realise I may now be here until I give birth don't you?


 Wearing silly clothes

Another feature of my working life is the opportunity to wear silly things. Sometimes these are work-related. Sometimes not.

You'd wear breathing gear for 20 litres of acetone too.

It was cold at work. We had hats.

This isn't me deliberately pulling a silly face. This is me carefully aligning an ion detector.
The gloves in the preceding photo are the bane of my existence. We cannot use powdered gloves, since the whole point is to absolutely avoid any contamination. Especially powder. So inside the gloves becomes instantly sweaty and vile. Instantly.  

The Day I Spilled Coffee Down My Trousers
Last week, I spilled an entire, very large, mug of coffee down my trousers. My only alternative was a white paper cleanroom suit sized for a 6' tall man. I think I carry it off rather well, don't you?

And just because I can, I think it's worth mentioning what a family-friendly place I work in.

Me and LittleBear visit at 3 months

Me and LittleBear visit at 8 months

LittleBear helps me work (aged 2)

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