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In Brief

Scientists With Some Odd Jobs Still Working During Shutdown

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The shutdown of large portions of the federal government due to the budget impasse has caused some 800,000 federal workers to be furloughed, with many scientists among them. With these researchers prevented from working, many a science project has been put on pause.

But the work of some scientists has been deemed essential enough that they have been "excepted," in government parlance, and are being allowed to continue work. Science Magazine took a look at some of the scientists that are still on the job. They include some perhaps unexpected jobs: an ornithologist who looks at specimens from birds that have had unfortunate impacts with aircraft to see what species they are; a skeleton crew to maintain the uber-accurate clock at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (accurate to 1 second every 100 million years); and a scientist at the National Institutes of Health who is tending to the lab's 14,000 mice.

Read more about how the shutdown is affecting science.

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Andrea Thompson
Andrea Thompson

Andrea Thompson is an associate editor at Scientific American, where she covers sustainability, energy and the environment. Prior to that, she was a senior writer covering climate science at Climate Central and a reporter and editor at Live Science, where she primarily covered Earth science and the environment. She holds a graduate degree in science health and environmental reporting from New York University, as well as a bachelor of science and and masters of science in atmospheric chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology.