Is this the most boring job in the world? Man who watches paint dry for a living says it isn’t dull but fascinating work
Most people could think of nothing worse than watching paint dry – but one man gets paid to do it all day.
Dr Thomas Curwen has watched paint dry in his job for Dulux for the last four years, but, although people laugh and joke, he claims his job is far from boring.
The 34-year-old from Twyford, Berkshire, spends hours watching the changing colour of paint as it dries – both on walls and up close through a microscope.
Thomas said: “When I tell people what I do they do take the mickey out of me – I’m always getting told: ‘that must be the most boring job in the world’.
“People think I stare at walls, constantly checking my watch to time how long it takes – if that was the case I would be bored out of my mind.
“Fortunately when you look under a microscope it brings everything to life.
“You see so much rich detail when you zoom in, when you get really close the pictures can look like something from out of space.”
The father-of-one, whose official title is research scientist, has worked at the Dulux headquarters in Slough, Berkshire for four years.
Previously he worked in agriculture, but has always focused on physical chemistry and is fascinated by the underlying science of paint.
As a result Thomas wants to disprove the theory that, not only is his job boring, but also that it’s pointless.
He said: “People tell me I must have the “easiest” job in the world but that’s not true – it can be really straining.
“But just imagine how drab our lives would be without vibrant colour.
“Ensuring paints are the brightest and most durable they can be helps make people happier in their houses, offices or just out and about.
“I ensure we always have the best product and – although it seems insignificant – paint plays a major role in affecting our emotions.”
You would think staring at paint all day would put him off the stuff, but that certainly isn’t the case.
In fact it seems as if he’s become a stronger supporter of the substance, even shunning other decorative possibilities.
Thomas said: “We moved into our new house about 18 months ago and the first thing we did was re-paint.
“We just had to get rid of the old wallpaper – it was dreadful!”
The work the research scientist does is focused mainly through the lens of a microscope staring at tiny drops of paint.
Thomas says a litre of paint contains close to a million billion particles, which is more than the number of stars in the Milky Way.
The largest particles are only as big as a human hair, with the smallest more than 100 times smaller than that.
Thomas said: “To understand how quickly and well the paints dry, we have to magnify the images as much as 25,000 times.
“We have to do this so people can rely on our paint staying point and not falling off at the lightest touch.”