The Sassy Scientist – Working in a Warming World

The Sassy Scientist – Working in a Warming World

You’ve spent months battling with radiators and cold wet weather, but the summer is finally upon us and to make things even worse we’re heading into a heatwave. The office that just weeks ago seemed impossible to keep warm is now so sweltering it feels as though you’re stepping into the sauna when you arrive each morning. Like most people, Jamie has been struggling with this, so I’m here to offer all the advice you could need to keep you cool over the coming months after he asked:

How do you cool down your office in summer?

Dear Jamie,

When trying to cool down your office, the first step should surely be to identify why on earth it feels like stepping into your office is hotter than the wall of heat that hits you when stepping off a plane that’s just landed in the Mediterranean. Some things to look out for include:

  • The overworked computer that can’t be turned off but is pumping out heat like a personal bonfire in the corner of your room
  • The radiator whose dial has broken so is permanently stuck on the hottest setting
  • Climate change
  • Your south facing window that is constantly in direct sunlight, effectively turning your office into a greenhouse

Upon realising that all these things are out of your control and there isn’t a single thing you can do to change your current (sweaty) situation, you need to start looking for ways to alleviate the suffering. It’s highly unlikely that you’re going to be able to trick your department into financing an air con system (though kudos for trying,) so in the absence of that, I’d like to suggest:

  • A fan, so that you can blow the hot air around the room and create loud noises to further distract you from your work
  • Shutting any blinds/curtains to keep the sun out and trying not to let the consequent gloom leave you feeling too downhearted
  • Copious amounts of ice cream, extra points for Ben and Jerry’s, and if your building doesn’t have a freezer then I am afraid I am going to advise you to eat the whole tub in one go

However, the best piece of advice I can give for this is to simply not go to the office, leading to a Schrodinger’s office if you will – if you’re not there, you can’t prove that you haven’t successfully cooled down your office. It’s a win-win situation. Find some friends, go for a swim, maybe a drink in the sun, enjoy the good weather, and cross your fingers that maybe tomorrow it will rain, the humidity will break, and you’ll be able to get some work done.

Yours truly,

The Sassy Scientist

PS: There is zero shame in embracing your inner sweaty scientist with pride.

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I am currently employed at a first tier research institute where I am continuously working with the greatest minds to further our understanding of the solid Earth system. Whether it is mantle or lithosphere structure and dynamics, solid Earth rheology parameters, earthquake processes, integrating observations with model predictions or inversions: you have read a paper of mine. Even if you are working on a topic I haven’t mentioned here, I still know everything about it. Do you have any problems in your research career? I have already experienced them. Do you struggle with your work-life balance? Been there, done that. Nowadays, I have only one hobby: helping you out by answering the most poignant questions in geodynamics, research and life. I am waiting for you right here. Get inspired.

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