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Last Post 3/26/2021 5:42 AM by  Mitzi Adams
Work from home?
 3 Replies
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3/23/2021 12:14 PM
    I wanted to know if its possible to work from home when you're a scientist who studies the sun? Or which kind of scientists can work from home?
    Thanks!!!Chris C
    Tags: career, work from home
    Christina Cohen
    Basic Member
    Posts:148 Basic Member

    3/23/2021 1:22 PM
    Hi Chris,

    It is possible to work from home, but how much depends on your role and what kind of instruments you are using.

    For instance, I work with data from spacecraft. When we're building and testing the instrument (before it goes on the spacecraft and is launched into orbit), we can't really work from home (although some of the analysis of the calibration data can occasionally be done at home after the tests). But, once the instrument/spacecraft are in space, all the data come to me online. So, then it is pretty easy to work from home.

    Some people study the Sun using instruments that they launch on rockets. During the building, testing, and flying of the instruments/rockets they can't easily work from home. But, again, after the data are collected they can do a lot of analysis at home.

    Kris Sigsbee
    Basic Member
    Posts:415 Basic Member

    3/24/2021 7:54 AM
    Hello Chris!

    I have been working from home for most of the past year. Currently, I am analyzing data from NASA satellites like the Van Allen Probes and Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) and writing papers for a scientific journal. As long as I have a laptop and access to a good Internet connection for downloading data and logging into my Linux workstation, I can do my data analysis and writing at home. Interacting with my co-workers has been a little difficult, but we still have e-mail, and can talk on the phone and text message, or do a Zoom chat. A big part of every scientist's work is attending departmental seminars and scientific conferences. Over the last year, these seminars and conferences have moved online to Zoom, WebEx, or Google Meet due to the pandemic, and some meetings have added discussions on Slack. While some conferences are still charging a registration fee for their online meetings, others are not. This has allowed me to participate in some meetings I would not have had funding to attend in person during a normal year, and interact with new groups of space scientists.

    As Christina mentioned, if someone is currently building instruments that will be launched on a sounding rocket or satellite, or doing plasma experiments or instrument calibrations in a vacuum chamber, they most likely will be working in a laboratory for at least part of their time. However, some tests and experiments can be automated using LabView or other software, so they can be started and left to run on their own without human intervention. Several years ago, I helped calibrate instruments for a sounding rocket. After putting the instrument in the vacuum chamber, it took several hours to pump out the air before I could start the tests, so I could work on other things or go home while I was waiting. When I came back, I would usually start the tests running in LabView, and then would have to wait several more hours for them to run, so I could leave again. There also aren't any issues with using PPE while working on instruments - in some cases, such as work done in clean rooms, people already used some form of PPE even before the pandemic.


    P.S. I am enjoying the variations of the name "Chris" or "Kris" in this thread!
    Mitzi Adams
    Basic Member
    Posts:101 Basic Member

    3/26/2021 5:42 AM
    Hello Chris,
    I too have been working from home for a year. Initially, I brought home my Linux work station. Later, I returned it to the office for an upgrade, after which I had a lot of difficulty displaying my data (from spacecraft). Recently, we have found a work around, and I can happily do data analysis again. Last October, I began working as an assistant manager, for which my Windows laptop has been sufficient. Working from home has advantages and disadvantages, and I suspect that when we are given the go ahead to return to the office, I will continue to work at home most of the time. Many of my colleagues though, need to get back to the lab in order to prepare experiments for flights. Their work schedule in the future will include some time in the lab, and some time continuing to work from home.
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