10 Dirtiest Jobs in Science
Sometimes a job calls for a little dirty work, but when your job is in science, the dirty part can become increasingly literal.
Popular Science magazine releases an annual report detailing the "Worst Jobs in Science." Among the psychologically demanding and dangerous elements of some of these jobs, these scientists must also be willing to get to the nitty gritty, even if it means going where no man or woman has gone before (or would want to).
Whether they are sifting through reeking mud banks to find cures for contamination, or sorting stool samples to get to the bottom of our bathroom dilemmas, these are some of the science jobs that sacrifice their time, energy and comfort for the greater global good.
If you're a science enthusiast looking for a job and not afraid to get a little dirty, or just looking for a reason to appreciate your work a little more, here are 10 of some of the dirtiest jobs in science:
1. Manure Inspector
What they do: Wade through farming manure, inspecting different kinds of animal waste to make sure it is free from contaminants. By checking the manure, these scientists make sure that the harmful materials do not spread to infect vegetation, animals or consumers.
2. Orangutan-Pee Collector
What they do: Collect and analyze ape urine to study factors that effect their reproduction. The work involves tracking down apes and laying down large plastic sheets or attaching plastic bags to poles in hopes of catching adequate samples to analyze.
3. Hot-Zone Superintendent
What they do: Perform maintenance work for bio-safety labs that study lethal airborne pathogens, for which there is no known cure. Their work enables scientists to study the nature of disease-causing organisms, such as anthrax.
4. Extremophile Excavator
What they do: Sift through the smelly fumes of arsenic-saturated mud areas in blistering heat in order to gather samples containing arsenic-eating extremophiles. The purpose is to find microbes that could possibly assist in the decontamination of the nation's freshwater sources.
5. Dysentery Stool Sample Analyzer
What they do: Study stool samples from diseased humans who have experienced diarrhea from a disease-causing microbe. The analysis allows these scientists to develop intestinal diagnostics to ease those suffering from the disease.
6. Semen Washer
What they do: Take semen samples under microscopic observation to study their sperm count, then spin, separate, add preservatives and freeze the samples for in vitro fertilization.
What they do: Monitor volcanic regions to determine when they'll erupt next. In addition to dodging hot magma, these scientists mountain climb their way through the heat and fight their way through fogs of sulfur dioxide gas, ash, rocks and debris.
8. Carcass Cleaner
What they do: Clean corpses for display using one of a variety of cleaning methods. This may include immersing the body in boiling chemicals, placing maggots or beetles on the carcass, or picking off the leftover flesh.
9. Fistula Feeder
What they do: Study how the insides of cattle work. To do this, they deplug the fistula, an opening to the bovine intestinal system, and take samples from the forestomach to test their digestion and reaction to food additives.
10. Corpse-Flower Grower
What they do: Grow and tend to a towering, foul-smelling plant called the corpse flower. Similar to the way pleasant-smelling flowers attract honeybees, the corpse flower attracts its own bugs, Sumatran carrion beetles and flesh flies. These scientists are competing to grow the largest blooming plant in cultivation.
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