Friday, February 27, 2009

Weird Science With Doug The Applications Scientist

If ya’ll have wondered where I've been, and felt a not-so-subtle shift in The Force this week, it’s because I have been in The Lab (echo, echo,echo). I’m a weird kinda cat, I am. I love all things science-y. Back in the day, I considered going to school and working at Jackson Labs in Bah Hahbah, doncha know. I watch the Discovery, TLC, National Geographic, History and Science channels voraciously. I love articles in the news about science discoveries. Love it! Love it! Love it! I’m very curious about the guts of things and how they work.

That said, I suck at math, have no concept of spacial relationships, very little inkling of abstract ideas, sport a wicked nervous tic and lack any kind of attention to detail. I’m more of an artsy-fartsy-big-picture kinda girl...with a wicked nervous tic. Those things, along with the fact that, due to my lack of patience, I am perfectly OK with quickly writing things off as 'happening by magic', makes me the world's worst candidate for any kind of futzy lab work. And yet, it’s been one of my goals to spend a little time in the lab, seeing how our products work so I’ll have a minutely better understanding of the chatter that goes on in the department all day long.

This week, the moons aligned, Doug The Applications Scientist drew the short straw, and I spent a couple of days ‘helping’ (Oh, my but is that word used loosely!) him in the lab. I LOVED it! Get this! I helped find bacteria in dirt! I know! Who knew right? Bacteria is dirty and dirt is bacteria-y. [Don’t steal that line! It’s mine. I’ll be publishing a paper soon!] Obviously Doug has reasons for doing this kind of thing that I can’t possibly fathom (see 'lack of attention to detail' in previous paragraph), but I got to help mix stuff up all mad scientist like, run PCR (just like on CSI, People!) and electrophoresis gels. We got to go in the darkroom and take pictures of things that mysteriously glowed. I got to wear nerdy goggles and purple rubber gloves! Wheeee!

I’m guessing with all of my stupid questions and observations, the ride wasn’t quite so much fun for Doug The Applications Scientist. I think I managed to take two one-hour experiments and turn them into 2 day-long events….Let’s just say I like to do my pipette calibrations vvvvveeeerrrryyyyy sssssllllooooowwwwwllllyyyy. But given the facts that I didn’t do any physical harm to myself (or more importantly, to Doug The Applications Scientist), the building didn’t have to be evacuated even once, and no mushroom clouds were reported over the greater Metropolitan area; he ought to be OK after a couple of martinis, a couple of weeks vacation and just a skooch of professional counseling. So THANKS, Doug The Applications Scientist! I had a great time, learned a lot and best of all, your extreme patience ensured that I didn't give a totally new meaning to the 'She Blinded Me With Science' song! You Rock!

9 comments:

Lisa/knitnzu said...

What excitement! My very first job was at Charles River labs... maybe I'll post about it. And I worked in a polymer research lab as an assistant for a while... We got to play with stuff there, which was kind of fun.

Mum said...

You make my ONE DAY at Monsanto's Hybertec Labs slicing and dicing and cloning potato plants not sound very special anymore!! I kept listening for a "Breaking news Special Report" about needing to evacuate the home land, and it never came so I suspected that you came out of the lab in one piece!

Marilyn said...

Sheehan would be proud of you!!!
Love,
Marilyn

Mel said...

Thanks for reminding me. I need to get people to go say nice things about my cousin Liz's character on CSI. She's Wendy Simms in the lab.

Kathy Kathy Kathy said...

I'm totally stealing your line.

dale-harriet said...

Oh, that IS exciting! My sciene-y lab career ended with the day my mom came down the basement (to my microscope lab) and said "WHAT IS THAT TURRIBLE SMELL??" and made me throw away all my cool little squigglies AND their pond water. {sniff} I think you're spectacular, you did one for all us types..

YarnThrower said...

I'm so glad you like science! It's good to be curious about things...

Great to see you today! I feel so fortunate that we have such a nice knitting group!

Cindy G said...

Holy salad spinners, Batman!

Sus said...

Great to hear that you liked working in the lab! Isn't it cool?