Well let’s see: at the start of this week I was constructing an experiment: gluing together radio-absorbing foam on the walls of my test chamber. Today I’m programming the equipment so I can gather data. This afternoon I should get onto doing some actual experiments: measuring the antennas I’ve designed to see how they perform. After that I’ll need to process the data from the experiments – that’s probably a job for next week.
Apart from experimentation itself, you have to write up your findings and publish them in a paper or present them at a conference, which means that being able to speak in public and to write well are both important skills to have. You also have to apply to funding bodies to give you money to do your research, and to persuade them that yours is the most exciting and important research that they should fund. The writing skills and people skills come in useful there too. Whoever would have thought that learning English at school would be so important for being a scientist!
What kind of things do you want to know about exactly? Do you mean our daily life, or more broadly what it means to be a research scientist?
My job involves doing research, of course: asking questions about things we don’t know yet, and then figuring out how to find the answers. But my job also involves teaching students, giving lots of presentations about my work, and even giving advice to the government.
For me as a neuroscientist a few common things come up regularly 1)You do LOTS of reading. This is really important because then you know what has been done and what questions are still out there to answer. 2) You learn to analyse data in lots of different ways (so I have had to become quite good at using computers and coding) 3) You get to meet lots of people and travel around the world – talking about your research is key to improving it! 4) You need to write up what you find and publish it so that other people can learn from what have done.