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Day In the Life of an Astrophyiscist

  1. Sep 3, 2012 #1
    Well the I have for you guys is what is a day like for an astrophysicist and astronomers.

    P.S. If this is in the wrong section feel free to move it.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 5, 2012 #2
    Bump, anyone know, I have a rough idea and that it is a lot of programming and crunching huge data sets, nut any further clarifications.
  4. Sep 6, 2012 #3
    It's one of those things where it really depends on the job. Where I work they work mostly on software and developing instrumentation for big Astrophysics experiments. These are really long term projects and they learn a lot. Sometimes they seem to be as much engineers or physicists but they have the theoretical background to really understand what is required to specify the instrumentation so that is quite valuable.
  5. Sep 6, 2012 #4


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    I'm an astrophysicist, working as a professor at a university. A typical day for me includes teaching, meeting with students, meeting with university committees, grading, class prep, and if I'm lucky, some research (usually involves reading a new paper or two and maybe working on my simulations or analyzing a data set). However, unless I have to analyze something in a hurry, most of my research is accomplished over breaks (winter, spring, and summer).
  6. Sep 8, 2012 #5
    May I ask how your "nights" are? In other words, after all of that work that you do during the day, are you able to go to bed early enough and get enough sleep? Do you ever get to catch up with old friends, or go to any kind of social event(s) with your family or friends?

    What about the professors who seem to be doing research and publishing new papers on the arXiv or even getting published in journals every month or less?
  7. Sep 8, 2012 #6


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    I try to go to bed early because I need to be in my office at 8 am most days. But during graduate school, I often worked until 2-3 am. Part of this was because I was a night owl, and part of this was because I was frequently awoken in the middle of the night to run telescopes. I don't do nearly as much of that anymore, so I can actually sleep through the night. But scientists and professors don't put down their work and go home and forget about it. We often work from home and over the weekends/holidays. That's often the only time we get to do our own work if we're also teaching. You never stop being a scientist, even for a night.

    Very few people publish constantly. A paper every year or two is a good rate for most professors, unless you're at a very top school and only teaching 1 class a year. Most of us are teaching more like 6 per year. It takes up far more of your time that way.
  8. Sep 8, 2012 #7
    Thanks guys, your answers are very informative.
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