• Question: What is your favourite thing to do at work?

    Asked by anon-253237 on 7 May 2020. This question was also asked by anon-253665.
    • Photo: Sandra Greive

      Sandra Greive answered on 7 May 2020:

      My favourite thing to do at work is talking to people about science. That includes talking to my colleagues, to our PhD and undergrad project students, going to conferences and talking to scientists who work on other systems, and talking to you guys here on I’m a Scientist.

    • Photo: Alex Holmes

      Alex Holmes answered on 7 May 2020:

      My favourite thing to do at work is to set up simulations – just like simulation computer games, but with proteins (tools cells use to do their jobs). I take a computer model of the protein, add water and salts and something called a forcefield (like in sci-fi) that knows how the different atoms of the protein should behave, and let it go! A huge computer called a supercomputer that’s thousands and thousands of times more powerful than my laptop then calculate where all the atoms will go over time and I end up with a movie of the protein moving around and doing its job, which is really cool! I always feel like a hacker when I have to write code or “hack” into the supercomputer!

      I know you didn’t ask, but here’s my least favourite thing: using the cold room. A cold room is like a big walk in fridge thats about 4 degrees inside and I often have to use it when working in the lab because the proteins I work on don’t like getting hot or they fall apart. In one experiment I do, I have to spend over an hour stood in the cold room turning on and off a piece of equipment every 60 seconds – which gets boring and cold very fast!

    • Photo: Suran Jayathilaka

      Suran Jayathilaka answered on 7 May 2020:

      Put my headphones on, listen to metal, and write code.

    • Photo: Marta Dazzi

      Marta Dazzi answered on 7 May 2020:

      I really enjoy analysing my data and given the results, deciding what to do next!

    • Photo: Sophie Pritchard

      Sophie Pritchard answered on 7 May 2020:

      I love scientific writing and communication, so being part of various newsletter teams is fun! I also like going into schools to talk about the science that I do, so being part of the public engagement team is also a great experience!

    • Photo: James Beswick

      James Beswick answered on 7 May 2020:

      My favourite thing to do at work is to succesfully ‘recrystallise’ a chemical compound. This is a really good way of purifying the potential drugs that I make. As an added bonus, I often get beautiful, sparkly white crystals (and sometimes other colours too!).

    • Photo: anon

      anon answered on 7 May 2020:

      My favourite to do at work is managing and updating the software which is used by scientist all across the globe and working for the benefit of humanity

    • Photo: Sophie Adjalley

      Sophie Adjalley answered on 10 May 2020:

      Hi Salma,
      my favorite thing to do at work is discussing projects and ideas with my colleagues.
      And I like helping people to troubleshoot their experiments when these have not worked.
      It’s as satisfying as solving jigsaw or crossword puzzles!

    • Photo: Sonia Rodriguez

      Sonia Rodriguez answered on 11 May 2020:

      My favourite thing to do at work is designing new experiments. You need to take your time to think about the type of experiment you want, all the controls you need, possible results, problems that might appear and how to avoid them… It’s very stimulating!

    • Photo: Leanne Milton-Harris

      Leanne Milton-Harris answered on 12 May 2020:

      I love making protein crystals! It takes ages, you have to make really pure protein, then use a robot to mix tiny drops of the protein with chemical solutions in plates, and then wait! Sometimes for days, sometimes it takes weeks for anything to happen… but then when you look at your drops down a microscope you can sometimes find tiny little sparkling crystals! They can be all sorts of shapes and colours, and you never know what is going to work so it’s always a surprise. Once we find them, then we can fish them out of the drop and shoot super powered X-rays at them, and figure out the 3D structure of the protein so that’s cool too!

    • Photo: Alena Pance

      Alena Pance answered on 19 May 2020:

      Salma, what I like the most is looking at the results of my experiments and thinking about what they mean. This is the exciting bit when we plan the next experiments and discover things but it is not easy to ‘see’ what is going on sometimes so we have to read the work that others have done to help the interpretation.