The 10 Worst Jobs In Science


MSNBC has a list of the 10 worst jobs in science as decided by their crack research team.

I’m surprised that Caged Animal Masturbator didn’t make the list, but Oceanographer did.


Yup … Someone needs to send this list to Mike Rowe.

I knew of someone who worked in Hawaii some years ago as a dolphin veterinarian. One of his jobs was to collect (ahem) semen samples from the male dolphins.

Well, it turns out that he was *very* popular with those dolphins – whenever they saw him, they’d chatter excitedly and splash around in their enclosures.

So when you see those old “Flipper” re-runs where Flipper gets all excited.…..well, let’s not go there!

I call foul. “Science teacher in the Deep South” is nowhere on that list. :)

My poor poor students and I have done at least 4 of the worst 10. (The oceanography is a bit of a streach- but I count hundreds of fish disections (and the ocean trips for collection), much blood shed, and minor nerve damage (mine) during fish tagging, sting ray barb wounds, scorpion fish barb wounds, knife cuts, jelly-fish burns, and general stink). The easy ones were forensic entomology, and garbagology. MSNBC didn’t even mention taphonomy which is a mix of aspects of No. 5: Coursework carcass preparer, No. 9: Forensic entomologist, and No. 10: Whale-feces researcher. My wife still celebrates the day that the coyote, and mountain lion shit was moved from the kitchen to the lab feezer. She still (I regret) is waiting to see the overflow fish, bird and snake carcasses leave the kitchen ‘fridge. (Soon, very soon).

She once observed that there were no other humans out of the entire 6.6 billion on earth that were using the kitchen stove to boil insect turds, on purpose that is.

Ah, the romance of science. Archaeology is not all hot chicks, whips and gold.


It’s an annual list. Kansas science teacher made the list in 2005. Sorry, I could find a link to the original PopSci article.


How did #9 forensic entomologist go from CSI fame to end up as “a worst job”? Of course, IIRC Grissom only used 1 wrapped pig…

OOOPS! Should be “could NOT find a link”.


They left out prostate exam model for med school.

What, no comments on whether “microsoft security grunt” even belongs in a list of science related jobs?

I thought for sure there’d be cries of “engineer! begone!” at that one.

Gotta say that “oceanographer” was a bit too broad. I know or knew oceanographers who have gone on Alvin dives to mid-ocean ridges, a mile and a half down, and on field work to the Bahamas, the Carribbean, and Mount St. Helens. Oceanographers that I’ve known have gone on cruises to Hawaii, scuba diving for various animals, and lots and lots of (clean) lab work. I spent far too many hours looking through a microscope. Mostly not terribly exciting, but I was warm and dry, clean, and I could listen to tunes while I worked. Heck, I’ve gone on a 35 day cruise from San Diego to Tahiti and done field work (in the summertime) in the Canadian Arctic! If that’s one of the worst jobs in the science, I’d like to see what they say are the best.

The worst (sounding), job I’ve done for science, was still pretty cool. I was part of a team surveying caves in Belize, and three of us had to finish off a survey from the previous year. First we swam across a fetid underground lake, into an area of very low Oxygen, and then across a smaller pool that was covered with actual “floaters”. For the next few hours, we were in and out of the water several times, and checking our O2 meters every few minutes. I took a very long shower that night.

Oh my goodness… I’ve done job #5 a bit closer to the consuming lab in college (“Go feed the cockroaches. They’re in a locked, unlit room in the sub-sub basement. Just beyond the medical cadavers.”), and also job #4 unprofessionally pre-college, and I’m enough of an insect and forensics geek to be fascinated by job #9.

Not the ones I would have picked as “worst.” I’d think “worst” would be a job where you got to do nothing interesting, observe nothing interesting, and additionally interact with no other scientists. Science teacher in rural Texas?

MSNBC has a list of the 10 worst jobs in science as decided by their crack research team.

Huh. I would have thought crack research would be on the list.

One of my summer students had a job in a previous year of feeding mosquitoes. The job required having a bald patch onto a guinea pig then holding the critter up to the mosquito cage screen during “meals”. The fuss bother and rodent bites lead to a simpler solution of holding his own arm against the screen most of the time.

According to him, after enough bites you don’t get any swelling.

The editors got the headline wrong (as usual)

The “it does stink” did not refer to whale dung, but whale farts.

Yes, AFAIU mosquito bite & repellent researchers (so little or no risk for infection) here in Scandinavia feed their research subjects personally.

I’m not sure if it is easier, cheaper, a better basis for research on mosquito feeding on humans, or as a routine for not having random swellings under the year, but presumably it would pass the obligatory ethical committees easier with less use of test animals.

There was a lab at grad school which was involved in Anal Wart research. That’s gotta be rough.

Well, at least the researchers there are getting to the bottom of things.

Henry J said:

Well, at least the researchers there are getting to the bottom of things.


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This page contains a single entry by Reed A. Cartwright published on May 31, 2008 12:27 PM.

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