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Scientists! What does real research work feel like?

I wish to become a physicist one day, i absolutely love doing random research, but i sometimes feel that its only so because it makes me feel smarter :P
Nevertheless, i'm always scribbling in class doing useless mathematics and physics just for fun, but the 'temporary' research always has some solid foundation.

So i'd like to know, Is research as thrilling and fun as it seems? Or the mathematics and complexity would simply bore the ordinary?

Also, how is the general salary like? Do you struggle to obtain what you desire, and does it really matter in the long term?

Thank you

P.S. Im currently 15, if that helps

  • Oct 10 2013: I've been doing research for a long time but also teaching. I think its like many other jobs, sometimes boring, other times exciting. But occasionally, not very often, you come across something which makes it worth it. Maybe a new discovery or development which is not run of the mill. Then you feel you are doing something worthwhile, you feel you are doing science.
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    Oct 9 2013: Two of the people closest to me in the world are physical scientists in different fields and find their work thrilling. This does not mean that every moment is thrilling. There is some detailed and routine work that needs to be done in support of the larger inquiry. Also, the newest people on the team may have less control over their assignments than the principal investigators and senior scientists.
    • Oct 9 2013: Yes, it's so true that when you begin research, you have to assist more than actually do the cool work. Howeer, over time you can conduct your own experiments. Also, writing a lab proposal can sometimes be frusturating. Getting perfection on a lab proposal is difficult.
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    Oct 11 2013: Do whats fun and interesting , and the money will follow . (most of the time )
  • Oct 10 2013: Suggestion - make sure you know yourself and what you really like.

    1. research is fun
    2. unfortunately, you will spend time getting money and managing grad students
    3. you must love learning more and more about a particular topic/problem. A lot of people are pushed to work on the same problem but deeper. (i.e. friend has been working on mri technology for 30 years, especially making it quieter)
    4. Switching problems/fields can be hard

    One friend was working in high energy physics, spent 6 months getting the money, 9 months building the equipment, less than a minute running the experiment, and year doing the analysis and writing up the results for publication. He did an analysis of what he liked doing for the process and found that designing and building the equipment was what he enjoyed the most. He spent the rest of his career designing hw and chips.
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    Lejan .

    • +1
    Oct 10 2013: Fun!
  • Oct 10 2013: I liked working problems when I was a physics guy then I grad school it moved beyond me.
    How does one know what is interesting and how far can you go?
    Curiousity is always interesting and not always rewarded. One of the most famous physicists of the 20th centruy is Ed Thorpe. Read Quants and Black Swan. Think of blackjack and hedge funds.
    Watch Jane Goodall See a chimp working on a project and its pleasure at doing something different. What you are interested in doing is something all people can do and maybe some nonhumans. Consider what you are not thinking right now.
  • Oct 9 2013: I got into research because I was always curious and always needed answers to the questions. As a high school researcher at my local university, I love every bit of laboratory work. There is always something new, or a problem to solve, always! Research is awesome only if you like what you research.
  • Oct 22 2013: "So i'd like to know, Is research as thrilling and fun as it seems?"

    It's up to you. I do the research that interests me. So if I were bored it would be entirely my fault. Yes, my research is a lot of fun. Sometimes I have to solve not-as-interesting little problems before being able to go on with the more interesting stuff, but even those can be interesting if viewed more carefully.

    "Or the mathematics and complexity would simply bore the ordinary?"

    Oh physics! Well, depends on what your maths are describing and on whether you get to understand what's going on, rather than on it being maths or anything else.

    "Also, how is the general salary like?"

    You won't get rich (except a few fortunate individuals), but a nice life for sure. However, if it's about the money, then don't do it. It takes a while before you're done with degrees (society's too blame for this degree bullshit, we need a true/real/authentic revolution in education, perhaps go back to a young apprentice schema.)

    "Do you struggle to obtain what you desire, and does it really matter in the long term?"

    Yup. You struggle. You have to have great work ethics. If you can't bother to work extra hours, for example, go somewhere else, do something else. If you can't be bothered to learn about the research related to yours, then go somewhere else, do something else. Don't waste my time and resources.
  • Oct 17 2013: To answer the last part of your post. It all depends on how you intend to apply the knowledge you have about physics. Do you plan on submitting a groundbreaking paper based on your research and knowledge to NASA or the American Physics Association? Do you plan on publishing a book containing all your findings? DO you plan on working for NASA? Do you plan on working in a school as a professor? Do you plan to start your own company?

    There are many possibilities out there on what your income could be like, it's up to you to believe in what you do and get your name out there.
  • Oct 11 2013: Research is thrilling and fun and much more than that.Mathematics is neither boring nor complex.Mathematics needs understanding the problem in right perspective , and using the logic to solve the problem.It is the difficulty to understand the problem and the logical part to solve problem due to which people perceive mathematics as difficult and complex and boring.Otherwise Methematics is simply addition,substration,division,multipication,Mod and nothing else.
  • Oct 11 2013: Wow! I wish I was like that in high school man, probably would have gone to class more and done better!! Haha
  • Oct 11 2013: I have the same feeling, hang on bro :D
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    Oct 10 2013: try to be like Albert Einstein in your basic knowledge and you'll find us waiting for you where the absolute is waiting for us ,if you venture in a deserved honour never feel satisfied until you touching the stars...Good Luck :)