Monday, May 14, 2007

Yeah.... not so smart

Disclaimer: This post is written for that portion of my readership with a scientific background.

I wish I could have done today over. Actually, just one stupid decision I wish I could do over. Then the experiment that I started *last week* wouldn’t have gone down the crapper today.

Things I learned from my bonehead mistake today:

1) 1 N HCl is, in fact, NOT the same as concentrated HCl. Concentrated HCl turns out to be 11.6 N. Somehow I had it in my head that they were the same. That was a very wrong assumption. 1 N HCl = 1 M HCl, though. That’s good to know. I’ll try to remember something useful like that from now on.

2) Scintillation fluid, when mixed with a highly acidic sample, will turn from what looks like canola oil into a milky white goo. Not. Good. This is when I knew that my experiment had shit the bed and a week’s worth of work was shot.

Now I know that I will make many more mistakes – I have a track record, this is normal. But this was my first big one, and it’s just such a pisser to lose one’s experiment at the very end. Today was data collection day! Analysis day! Make a spreadsheet and accessorize it with a bar graph day! The day when your boss walks in and you’re on the computer crunching numbers instead of checking your email and you can say “Look! I’ve been productive and I have proof!”



I did plate another experiment, so, we’ll see how this week goes. And now we have 1.113 L of 1 N HCl. You always have to look for that silver lining.


Blogger dressagemom said...

Oh, that sucks it so bad when that happens. It's like, yeah, I wanted to waste those last 5 days doing something that's totally a waste of time.

Gee, sorta sums up my time at Big D's lab. D'oh!

8:22 AM  

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