MadSci Network: Other

Re: What's your average day like as a Scientist

Date: Thu Aug 30 12:18:21 2007
Posted By: Gabriel Keith Harris, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science
Area of science: Other
ID: 1188447124.Ot

Dear Trinity,

Thank you for your question.

It's a great one.

I think that the best things about being a scientist for me are that there are no average days and that, in many ways, you get to design your own job.

It's important to realize that not all science jobs are the same.

Some scientists do work in a lab with chemicals, while others might work with cells, animals, people, or machines.

Many scientists work with a combination of these things.

The thing that all scientists have in common is that they run experiments to answer important questions and then publish the information that they discover in scientific journals.

My job as a professor requires that I teach students about food science and nutrition, read scientific papers, write scientific papers, give speaking presentations, and work in a lab.

On any given day, I may have to focus on one or more of these different areas.

Sometimes I work on my own and other times I work as part of a team (both of these can be fun).

One of my research interests is disease prevention.

Like yourself, many of my family members have died of cancer, so I am interested in studying ways in which plant foods might prevent cancer from occurring in the first place.

In response to your question about whether or not it's worth it, I would definitely say yes.

I will be very honest with you and say that college classes can be very difficult and reading scientific papers or doing experiments is sometimes boring.

On the other hand, any job you do will have parts that you will not like.

Overall, science is great.

I think that it's fantastic that you are so interested in science and want to encourage you to do your very best in school and then to find a good university to attend (The University of Minnesota is a great school, although I have to say that my favorite is NC State, where I teach).

I hope that this helps, Trinity.

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