Welcome to My World: Careers in Science and Technology
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Let me show you what my day is like. I begin each day with a plan. My fellow chemists and I synthesize molecules, which means that we build new molecules. We look at the results of the compound that we had been working with, and, based on what happened before, we plan for the next molecule.

To synthesize the next molecule, we study the chemistry behind the synthesis—what needs to happen in order for the synthesis to occur—and we get literature that other scientists have written about it if there is any available. So, my team and I rely on each other's knowledge as well as the work of other scientists all over the world.

My co-workers and I discuss the chemistry and divide the work to be done based on our skill levels. We may have a small meeting with two or three chemists or a formal meeting with biologists to plan for the next step and to discuss the progress. After the each synthesis is complete, we check our compounds for purity, and isolate them for the biological testing that will happen later.

Most of the time, I stand and work near the hood, which is a special work area with an enclosure that carries away harmful fumes and vapors. I wear gloves, a lab coat, and other gear to protect myself from the chemicals. A typical workday lasts more than nine hours, even though my company requires only eight hours per day. In this type of research work, a ten-hour workday is very common.

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