Saturday, February 11, 2012

Another day in the life of a scientist


Long day in the lab yesterday. One of those days that leave you dead-tired, so that when you get home you just want to find the couch, turn the TV on and just do nothing. Got my morning coffee first. Workday started off with me doing a procedure called western blotting—104 cell samples loaded manually (by me) onto four plastic-like gels and pushed through them by electricity. Point of procedure? To separate proteins in the samples according to their molecular weights. Just the sample loading took over an hour. Have to pay attention--very easy to make a mistake and load the wrong sample in the wrong place. Made buffers after that. Found all the accessories needed to complete the procedure. Lunchtime in my office. Knock on my office door. Impromptu visit from the big boss. Shoveled in my salad while talking about my future—lab frock on and thoroughly harried. Thought about that. In my younger days I wouldn’t have eaten a bite while talking to the boss. Would have been too nervous. Now I do. No longer nervous. Getting used to all these conversations. Back in the lab. Two more hours of finishing up this gel procedure. Nice results. A reward for the hard work and long hours. Not always that way. A quick coffee break. Meeting with my student--discussed results. Hers and mine—she does the same procedure to get data so we can discuss what’s happening in her cells. Interesting project. She will get her thesis done. Hope there will be an article out of it. Cannot predict that when you first start the work. Do all this work for several months and suddenly a dead-end. That’s research. Used to disappointments—makes success all the more enjoyable. Scanned in some data, transferred it to the computer, sent it on to my student. Finished up paperwork before heading for home. Bought a grilled chicken, fried up some mushrooms, made broccoli—voila—dinner on my own. Hubby out with his lab group for dinner. TV night for once—not often that happens! The King’s Speech, Game of Thrones, The Way We Were—well-worth the watching time. Monday starts another week, more long days in the lab. Wonder how I did this when I was younger—long long hours in the lab, sometimes twelve per day. Dead-tired a lot of the time. Like being in the lab though. Will probably be doing that till I retire--white frock on, in front of the lab bench, alone. Not a bad way to work given the new workplace propensity for long unsatisfying meetings these days. Would rather be in the lab, all things considered. 

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