• Question: if you had a question to do with science that you wanted to know the answer to and no one else has ever found the answer to your question how long would it take you to find the answer or to do the experiment?

    Asked by aisling to Gavin, Karen, Mark, Michel, Roisin on 8 Nov 2016.
    • Photo: Michel Destrade

      Michel Destrade answered on 8 Nov 2016:

      Yes, that’s exactly what we all do all day, work on questions that no one else has solved yet. Of course, there are usually a lot of people working on that same question, and by talking and working with them you can make progress.

      In my experience, so far it’s taking me between two weeks (for the shortest) and fifteen years (for the longest). Scientists are very stubborn!

    • Photo: Mark Kennedy

      Mark Kennedy answered on 9 Nov 2016:

      Michel sums it up very well. Most of what we do is trying to answer questions that nobody knows the answer to!

      Experiment times have varied over my PhD. Usually, an observation of a system will last for a night or 2. But then, with missions like Kepler, observations can last up to 3 months.

    • Photo: Roisin Jones

      Roisin Jones answered on 13 Nov 2016:

      Precisely as Michel said, most of my work involves working on questions that no one else has managed to figure out yet. In terms of experiment times, my reaction times vary from 30 minutes to about 5 days, but solving an overall problem may take longer than that: I’ve certainly been working on at least one for two years and counting!