Being an experimental plasma physicist, I spend most of my time on designing circuit board, making bolts and parts, building experimental facilities and diagnostics, and, of course, doing experiments by shorting 5000V across a filament of innocent neutral gas.
plasma jet at 8 microseconds after high voltage discharge
The transient power flows into the gas is >500MW, larger than the total power consumption of the entire Pasadena city. Fortunately the experiment only run for several microseconds (1sec=1 million microsecond) so we do spend huge amount of money on power. Within that several microseconds, the neutral gas is being broken down into charged gas (plasma). The temperature can be as high as 20000 Degree Celsius. Yes, we make lightening in lab.