• Question: What challenges did you face when you started or before you started your work?

    Asked by Iffat25 to Triona, Kieran, Julia, Hugh, Emily on 13 Nov 2018.
    • Photo: Hugh Manning

      Hugh Manning answered on 13 Nov 2018:

      When I started my PhD I wanted to set up a cryostat, that’s a machine which can go to very very low temperatures, around – 230 degrees Celsius. I wanted to make electrical measurements of our nanowires at these extremely low temperatures!
      It took me almost half a year to assemble the cryostat, install the electrical measurements, get the equipment set up, write some computer code to control it all and then start my experiments. After all that making the samples to put into the cryostat was really really difficult. After another few months of trying we eventually had to move onto a new piece of equipment!
      Even though it didn’t work, I learnt allot.

    • Photo: Kieran

      Kieran answered on 14 Nov 2018:

      When I was studying for my first degree, we learned about the human body and disease and how to treat people. Then, when I started research, I had to learn about completely different subjects like engineering and lab techniques. It was very difficult in beginning knowing nothing about the work that I had to do, but everyone around was very helpful and after a year I feel like I’ve nearly caught up with everyone else!

    • Photo: Emily

      Emily answered on 15 Nov 2018:

      The most challenging part of any experiment is actually STARTING! Sometimes, nervousness about failure can be a big issue and it can slow research because if you’re afraid to fail, you’ll be more afraid to start! Everyone has those feelings of not being good enough or not knowing enough, but once you realize that everyone has those feelings, then you realize that it doesn’t matter if you fail. What matters is if you keep trying after you fail.

      For me, the biggest challenge was figuring out when I knew enough to start, and at what point I should start – sometimes it’s good to be well prepared, other times you need to realize that you’ll never be prepared until you know what you’re doing!