A day in the life of a dark matter scientist

This is a guest post by Eric Copenhaver, a Physics PhD student in Prof. Holger Müller’s lab at UC Berkeley. Follow him on Twitter @ecopenhaver.

If you walked into my atomic physics lab at the University of California Berkeley two weeks ago, you would have found me in a pensive pose. Left hand nestled inside my right elbow, right hand clasping my chin, with an intensely furrowed brow, I was staring off into space while leaning up against the counter. I spend a lot of time like this these days. I spend a lot of time in the dark. I mean that proverbially, but the lab I was standing in was also rather dimly lit to avoid disturbing my light-sensitive sample. I was standing in the shadow of my experiment, an SUV-sized mess of cables and lasers and mysterious boxes. There was a problem somewhere in there. The machine wasn’t working as it should — something in that morass of cables and sensors was different than it was the day before. And I had to find it.

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Welcome to Equilibria! Who the heck are we?

Hi! Welcome to Equilibria. We’re glad you’re here!

We’re three Ph.D. students who have given over our twenties to biology research, and we’re starting this project to share our love of science with you! Ph.D. students (alongside postdocs) do the grunt work of science. Each day we try to learn something new about the world. Science research is rarely as glamorous as it appears in popular media, but it’s also rarely endless, dull toiling. Instead, it’s a bit of both! We love the job, and want to share what it looks like.

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