How do science innovations make it from the laboratory into your life?

Cocktails with the founder of modern physics, a frolic with the father of microbiology, and other ideas for quality time with bygone science celebs.

The heart of a resistive magnet, the Bitter disk is too beautiful and versatile to be confined to the laboratory.

This week at the lab, former waitresses, bike mechanics, firefighters and corn detasselers are chiming in on a recent social media trend by sharing their first seven jobs.

Twitterers worldwide have been posting lists of their first forays into the workforce (#Firstsevenjobs) — the type of endeavors that (sadly, we think) rarely end up on a resume. So we decided to ask some of our scientists, engineers and the rest of the staff who keep the National MagLab running smoothly to think back to their youth and where their first paychecks came from.

Who knew that bartending could be great prep for a chemistry career? Or that a stint as a horse wrangler could pave the way to physics? Indeed, the path to science turns out to be as varied as the folks in the field.

For proof, just scan the below lists provided by some of our staff. Want to join the conversation? Tweet your own list (#Firstsevenjobs), and tag @nationalmaglab in your post.

Amy McKenna
MagLab job: Chemist, Ion Cyclotron Resonance Facility
First jobs: oatmeal-getter at a pancake house, waitress, cashier, bartender, titanium seller, bartender (again!), analytical chemist

Thierry Dubroca
MagLab job: Postdoctoral associate, Electron Magnetic Resonance Facility
First jobs: cowboy, corn detasseler, catering cook, shrimp factory cook, math tutor, material scientist, start-up /CEO

Tim Murphy
MagLab job: Director, DC Field Facility
First jobs: paper boy, corn detasseler, farm laborer, lawn care, toy factory employee, horse wrangler, intramural referee

Scott Bole
MagLab job: Mechanical engineer
First jobs: Bicycle mechanic, bag boy, apprentice electrician, land surveyor, stevedore, maintenance man, mechanical engineer

Jon Betts
MagLab job: Head, Pulsed Field Facility program
First jobs: dishwasher, DJ, cryogenics engineer

Roxanne Hughes
MagLab job: Director, Center for Integrating Research & Learning
First jobs: cashier, day care teacher, waitress, marine biology technician, high school science teacher, high school girls cross country and track and field coach, teaching assistant

Renee Luallen
MagLab job: Coordinator, DC Field Facility
First jobs: video store clerk, hair salon receptionist/cashier/manager, math tutor, graduate assistant, project facilitator/business development analyst, product/business development manager, enrollment systems team leader

Sean Coyne
MagLab job: Facilities manager
First jobs: lawn mower, baby sitter, zoo animal caretaker, bike mechanic, trail builder, farm hand, horse trainer

Charles "Lamar" English
MagLab job: Research engineer
First jobs: scuba instructor, police dispatcher, papermaker, construction surveyor, power plant operator, dive light manufacturer

Scott Hannahs
MagLab job: Physicist and associate lab director
First jobs: public works laborer, state park maintenance worker, firefighter programmer, physicist

Eric Palm
MagLab job: Deputy lab director
First jobs: oil field worker, oiler and welder’s helper, seismic testing technician, physics and physical sciences teacher, teaching and research assistant, physics postdoc, research scientist

Carlos Villa
MagLab job: Outreach coordinator
First jobs: bag boy, sandwich artist, copy consultant, planetarium educator, substitute teacher

Kristen Coyne
MagLab job: Web content director
First jobs: Jewelry factory laborer, governess in Switzerland, college tour guide, grocery runner, public library silence enforcer, English teacher, banana tree killer

Image Gallery

See some MagLab staffers in their old jobs in the image gallery below. Click on the image for a better view and more details.

During the sport's biggest month of the year, MagLab staffers talk about how biking enhances their life — and their science.

Time off from the lab can recharge batteries, inspire new insights and give the brain a break — even when a little science sneaks in.

When it comes to science, can fortune tip the scales?

This week at the lab, a who’s who of high magnetic field researchers will be convening in Tallahassee for the Physical Phenomena at High Magnetic Fields conference (PPHMF).

Scientists, some from other magnet labs in Japan, the Netherlands, France, China, South Korea and Germany, will have the opportunity to hear dozens of talks, attend poster sessions and confer on subjects from cuprates to spintronics as they explore new opportunities in magnetic field research.

In between sessions, participants will have a lot to talk about, said conference chairman Neil Sullivan, as stronger, more novel magnets keep pushing the science forward. “There’s a tremendous excitement about new types of superconductors, new materials, topological insulators,” said Sullivan, director of the MagLab’s High B/T Facility. “All sorts of new things are emerging.”

Organized by the MagLab, this will be the eighth PPHMF conference since the event was launched in Tallahassee in 1991.

Graphic by Caroline McNiel / Text by Kristen Coyne

Striking the delicate balance between competition and collaboration in science.

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