A Scientist’s Workplace

By Dr. Rebecca Willén, founder of IGDORE


What does it look like when a scientist work?

Photo: Johan Rudolfsson / IGDORE

Here is someone visiting Bali, Indonesia. Is she working or just browsing the web? Maybe writing an email? Maybe searching for a good nearby restaurant? Maybe doing complicated data analyses for her PhD thesis?

Photo: Johan Rudolfsson / IGDORE

This is also on Bali, and these guys sure seem to be working. But are they?

Photo: Private

Another tourist destination, Fuerteventura, Spain. Working? Am I just enjoying the view or am I actually — in this particular moment — trying to solve a problem I have with an ongoing data collection in Sweden?

Photo: Private

Everyone knows you can’t work next to a kid… Or can you?

Photo: Rebecca Willén

This seems more like it! But wait, no, what is that? Fruit salad? And what is that topping?! No no no, can’t be work… not serious work anyway.

Photo: Private

Nope, a tent in the Swedish mountains does NOT count as a workplace unless you’re in like biology or something doing field work. Doesn’t count as work anyway though unless it’s REALLY uncomfortable and you at least hate it a little bit.

Photo: Rebecca Willén

No. Just no.

Photo: Rebecca Willén

Well now you’re talking! That’s WORK! You can see the pain, the isolation, the closed curtains implying need for concentration, the lack of time to eat properly. It’s probably in the middle of the night too. Now THIS is what academic work looks like!

Photo: Daniel Berntsson
“If the printer doesn’t work, you can turn off the machine. Turn on again and repeat your print job from your PC.”

Ah yes, this is indeed a workplace, no doubt.

“Please keep your foot on the mat. The machine have a slightly electric shock.”

Slightly more surprising, but every scientist who has ever worked in academia knows that the overhead costs somehow never really cover printing equipment that work properly all the time…


Now, where do you work, dear colleague? And where don’t you work? Where are your thoughts as clearest and your new ideas as most plentiful? How often do you work from there?

Photo: Private
Photo: Private