My seismic career shift

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About 6 months ago, I sat at work, watching a robot vacuum cleaner glide confidently across the floor—until it dove off a ledge. “Well,” my co-worker remarked, “that's not good,” as he entered the result into a spreadsheet. Observing such product failures is just one part of my job as the senior scientist for a consumer product testing website, where anything even tangentially related to science ends up on my plate. On any given day, I could be tweaking a data model of smartphone battery life, thinking about how to test the temperature consistency of charcoal grills, or writing a consumer safety article about defrosting a turkey. I love rising to these delightfully unpredictable daily challenges, which I never could have anticipated when I was working on my Ph.D.

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