Most of the time science appears in the media – including in this podcast – the focus is on the scientific results. Rightly so, as scientific research consistently delivers inspiring breakthroughs. But this type of coverage can present an idealised version of science. Researchers are presented as dispassionate beings working together seamlessly to uncover the common truths of their discipline.
In reality, scientists are people with a range of personalities and backgrounds, displaying all the usual human traits – the good and the bad. In this episode of the Physics World Stories podcast, Andrew Glester meets a selection of successful researchers to discover what it is really like to carve out a career in physics. What motivates them? What are the big challenges lying ahead for early-career researchers? What are the rules they play by?
For more information and advice on this topic, see the 2020 edition of Physics World Careers. In the March issue of Physics World magazine, we also launched our new “Ask me anything” interview series, providing careers advice for physics graduates. Physics World’s Tushna Commissariat asks 10 of today’s top physicists three questions to find out about their roles and what they wish they knew when they started their careers.