Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Caitriona Jackman from Smart Futures to give some advice for people considering this job:

Caitriona Jackman

Planetary Scientist

Smart Futures

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Caitriona Jackman
If you are considering full-time scientific research, try to get a work placement in a university department so you can see first hand what it’s like. It’s a relatively relaxed, flexible environment, but there is a certain degree of self-motivation needed. 

So I would say you need to be able to push  yourself and be proactive in terms of setting up collaborations with other scientists etc.
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They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
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A day in the Life of an Econophysicist

"We discuss is the future of our work on correlations of stocks on the London Stock Exchange. This work was based on nuclear physics techniques". 

Arrive at the office, not so early in the morning. I prefer to work during the evenings, it is more inspiring. The first thing that I do is to check the new articles related to my field on the Physics arXiv, an online archive with many of the most recent articles published in a wide range of branches of physics.

I spend some time preparing everything (registration and travel) for a conference that will take place in two months. It is always very important to present our work at international conferences. However, in an interdisciplinary field like mine the comments of researchers from different backgrounds have even more importance.

Because of this, I leave my office to meet a collaborator at the School of Business Studies. Some progress in our work is made when I present him with the new results about the existence (or not) of a real estate bubble in Ireland.

After lunch, I have my Econophysics group meeting. The first topic that we discuss is the future of our work on correlations of stocks on the London Stock Exchange. This work was based on nuclear physics techniques applied to a time series of stocks. A network of stocks, whose connections meant strong correlations, was built to study the cluster of stocks in industrial sectors.

The second topic is about our study on wealth distributions in societies. We compute models and compare it with real data from U.K., Ireland and Portugal. Some of these results are in a chapter that we are writing for an econophysics book.

After the meeting, I return to my office. Back to business on my computer! My work is divided in computational and analytical studies. In the computational one, I construct programs to simulate models or to analyse data. In the analytical study, I work on some maths and physics together to find the underlying nature of theory. Right now I’m developing new routines to one of my programs in order to obtain better results.

Time for a hot cappuccino break. I pick one of the many articles piled on my desk. It is amazing how many different subject areas econophysics is now divided into, and how much work has been done by econophysicists during the last decade.

Around 9 p.m. I leave the office. Stop for some shopping and go home.

Tomorrow, I’m sure that I will meet someone surprised with this word econophysics. After all, that happens every day!

Article by: Ricardo Coelho ~ Institute of Physics in Ireland