Thursday, December 30, 2010

Never Work a Day...

Dr. Sypher, - Oct 22 2:31PM

Hello, my name is Allyson. I am currently a junior at [...] highschool. Personally, I don't know too much about physics, but I love music. I plan on going to college for music education. Do you enjoy physics?

Re: Dr. Sypher, - Oct 25 12:31AM

Hi Allyson,

I do enjoy physics, a great deal. I think it's important to explore all kinds of subjects and find something that you really, really enjoy. Sounds like music might be that for you. A wise person once told me that if I do what I enjoy, then I'll never have to "work" a day in my life. Would you agree?


Re: Re: Dr. Sypher, - Nov 05 2:14PM

Dr. Syphers,

I do agree with that completely. I find it absolutely fascinating that people can find something that they are so extremely passionate about. How exactly did you become interested in physics?


Re: Re: Re: Dr. Sypher, - Nov 07 4:32PM

Hi Allyson,
I became interested in astronomy at a very young age (6 or 8?) and was always looking up at the stars and moon and planets at night. When I got to High School and had already taken biology and chemistry (and math), I was told I should take "physics" next. I didn't know what that was, but when I saw a physics book and saw the chapter on "Gravity and Planetary Motion" then I knew it was the subject I had always wanted to take. And, I guess I never stopped!


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Meeting Requirements

Introduction - Oct 22 9:37AM

Dr. Syphers,

My name is Laurabelle and I am currently a Junior at [...] High School. Thanks for being our adopted physicist! My favorite subject in school is math. I play on the varsity volleyball team and plan on playing in college. I want to major in physical therapy with a minor in photography.

What's the hardest or most diffiicult part of your job?

Re: Introduction - Oct 25 12:30AM

Hi Laurabelle,

I suppose the hardest part is when you get stuck trying to solve a problem and can't seem to get anywhere. It does happen -- more often than I'd like. (We don't have an "answer book" or a teacher that already has all the answers! Argghhhh!) But then, of course, that's what makes it an exciting job experience.

What kind of photography do you like to do? I dabble in that a little bit, too…


Re: Re: Introduction - Oct 28 7:04AM

I like taking macro photos because it allows me to accentuate little details in my subjects. I'm also getting more into landscapes and portrait photography.

What kind of photography are you into and what do you do if you have trouble solving a problem- do you leave it be and come back to it or go on to something else all together?



Re: Re: Re: Introduction - Nov 01 12:18AM

Hi Laurabelle,

I like to take landscapes, too, as well as architectural photos.

As for problem solving, yes I often let it go for a while and come back to it. Unfortunately, I typically do not have the option of going on to something else altogether (especially if my "boss" wants an answer tomorrow!) ;-)


Re: Re: Re: Re: Introduction - Nov 05 11:55AM

Although problem solving is the hardest part of your job, is it your least favorite or is there another aspect that you don't favor as much? And if so, what and why?


Laurabelle :D

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Introduction - Nov 07 4:31PM

Hi Laurabelle,

I want to point out that even though it may be hard, solving problems is probably the "best" part of the job. It's what makes it all challenging and exciting.

So, that said, I guess I don't like going to (certain) meetings and sitting there while I could be doing something more useful. There seems to be more and more meetings of this type as one gets older and more into the management side of things.

But, overall, I still enjoy almost all aspects of my work and think it is still very satisfying.


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Workin Hard

: ) - Oct 21 7:54PM

Heyy Dr. Syphers

My name is Hailey, thank you very much for taking the time to be our physicist! I am a Junior at [...] High School, I am taking physics honestly to get one last science credit but i really like it so far. I would like to go to college for Speech Therapy, Audiology, and Pathology. I am a 6'1" basketball player and I play nationally, I hope to play in college at the division II level.

Whats your favorite thing about your job? Have you always wanted to be a physicist?

Re: : ) - Oct 25 12:30AM

Hi Hailey,

I think the most favorite thing about my job is the huge diversity of what all I get to do. I get to work on very sophisticated equipment with a team of very smart and fun people, get to travel and write and give talks, and get to work with the best young people who all seem to have lots of energy and lots of ambitions. I get to study science, which I have always enjoyed, and people pay me for it! Not bad!

As for your other question, I think I wanted to be a "scientist" since I was about 8 years old or so; it took me a while (10 years?) before I understood what "physics" was and that that was the "science" I was interested in.


Re: Re: : ) - Oct 29 11:28AM

Heyy Dr. Syphers,

We just finished our forces unit in physics and now were learning about Energy.
Your job sounds like a lot of fun! How long is a typical work day for you? what is the most challengeing thing you've ever done with physic?


Re: Re: Re: : ) - Nov 01 12:19AM

Hi Hailey,

My work day varies, but it's usually at least 8 hours, and sometimes 10-12. But, I try to make the total work week about 40-50 hours at max. It really depends upon what is going on at the moment. It's important to take breaks, though, and re-set your mind and your energy level. And, as you might expect, I put in a LOT more hours when I was just a bit older than you; these days, I get tired a lot easier… ;-)


Re: Re: Re: Re: : ) - Nov 05 11:11AM

haha understandable a lil R&R never hurts. What do you think is the most challengeing aspect of your job? how many years did it take in college to get where you are today?

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: : ) - Nov 07 4:30PM

Hi Hailey,

I think the most challenging part of the job is trying to keep up with everything that is going on in the field. Things develop so rapidly. There's always new reports to read, new talks to hear, new events taking place, that it's hard to keep up sometimes. I wish I had about 56 hours in a day…

I went to school in stages. First, the typical 4-year college; then I worked for a couple of years before starting my Master's degree, which took about 3 years. Then, I took a year off before starting my PhD program, which took me another 2 years or so. So, I guess it was about 10 years of college, which I completed by the time I was 29.


Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: : ) - Nov 09 11:43AM

Dr. Syphers,

Thank you so much for the time you took out of your busy schedule to answer question my classmates and I had!