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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How the change in grad student taxation will impact everyone in America

We really wish we could be writing about science right now. But this week, we can’t.

By now, you’ve probably heard of — and formed an opinion on — the tax bill that was just passed by House Republicans. Maybe you’ve read about how it scraps the medical expense deduction, lowers corporate tax rates, or eliminates state and local tax deductions. But buried in this bill is a change that is keeping us awake at night, and should alarm anyone who cares the tiniest bit about science. Continue reading “How the change in grad student taxation will impact everyone in America”

10 time management tips from 3 tired grad students

Grad school is hard. There are classes to teach, endless experiments to troubleshoot, apartments to clean, grants to write, groceries to buy, friends to see, reading to stay up to date on. Luckily, through trial and error, we’ve come up with some great time-saving tips for new scientists out there! Enjoy.

1. Start an extracurricular blog. This will likely take up more time than you could have ever expected, but it will be fun. The fun will make it hard to stop spending time on the blog, but the time will make it hard to have fun in general.   Continue reading “10 time management tips from 3 tired grad students”

A day in the life: Maya

A few days ago, I met a friend for a beer, and he asked me (as politely as possible) what scientists actually do on an average day. Ask and you shall receive! In a series called Day in the Life, we and our peers will share what we do to fill our time. Find them compiled here.

Here’s what I did today:

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