Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Top Things Heard in the First Experiment

1. Can I just pour the powdered chemical onto the balance? (NO, that is why you have a spatula in your lab drawer.)
2. I spilled some acid.
3. CRASH! (Somebody drops a beakers and it breaks.)
4. Oh! Uh, water is coming up the drains and flooding the sinks. (Thanks to our building's lab pipes that are older than time.)
5. Where's the filter paper/pH paper?
6. I don't have any product! (In essence, your experiment didn't work.)
7. My calculations are way off. (Density of water should be around 1 g/mL; some people's densities were around 0.5 g/mL.)
8. I added acetone instead of water twice; I didn't read the bottle label (twice). I had to repeat the experiment three times.
9. Oh, I'm so behind!
10. Am I done yet?

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Nerdy Quotes

So I was reading my handy dandy C&E (Chemical and Engineering) News yesterday (and yes, I read nerdy news magazines in my downtime). Anyway, in this book review I read I came across some great scientific quotes. See my blog summary for one of my favorites. I think the chem nerd stereotype maybe began with Linus Pauling. This is what he wrote (he was born at the beginning of the 20th century), "I try to identify myself with the atoms...I ask what I would do if I were a carbon atom or a sodium atom."
Maybe I should try that in my research...but if I do, I won't be telling anybody about it.

I Should've Asked...

So I volunteered to be on this committee through our graduate student organization. I should have asked for more information; I assumed it was a committee made up of students. So I show up for the first meeting wearing jeans and a T-shirt (my usual lab attire). I also have a muffin and a chai latte - I was hungry. Uh, I was the only student in the meeting. Apparently, I am the graduate student representative to a committee full of faculty members. They all are wearing suits and professional-looking clothes. I'm in old lab clothes munching on a muffin. Great first impression!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

TA-ing Inspiration

So I found out yesterday I get to TA this semester. I should have plenty of good stories coming soon. Like the student I had one year that offered me a business card about joining some organization that works at legalizing drugs. He liked to wear hemp bracelets. Or the student who couldn't figure out how to acquire 1 gram of a chemical and weigh it (he got confused and didn't know that he could scoop out the chemical from the big jar). There's also the good feeling you get when somebody understands chemistry from what you've explained. So here's to TA-ing!

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Clarifications Between Geniuses and Smarties

Okay, so maybe I should clarify a couple things (see the comments on the previous post). There are smart people at all universities. And dumb people persist everywhere. I don't think you can get around it, sad to say. I have found that in my graduate program, it seems everybody else is smart. We're talking geniuses here. Or at least almost-geniuses. Oh, and yes, I guess I do talk to myself outloud as well, as my husband Josh has so kindly reminded me. I try to only do that in private though. One of Josh's new responsibilities when I entered grad school is to tell me when I start going over the line towards complete, socially-inept chemnerdness. I guess that's why I'm okay with not being a chemistry genius. I can still keep my thoughts silently in my head (most times) and have socially-stimulating conversations that have nothing to do with science. You know the kind I'm talking about...conversations about shoes, movies, and my puppy. Ha!

Friday, August 12, 2005


So I decided to jump on the blog bandwagon and start my own. I've finished two years of chemistry graduate school and still have at least a couple more to go. Graduate school at a large, public university was a totally different ballgame than my undergrad experience at a small, private university. Everybody was smart...really smart. Most everybody is all about work...that's their life. So to get through the stress, I have to laugh at the craziness around me. Case in point, my first week at school I run into the eccentric professor who talks to himself outloud in the hallway. I was embarrassed for him, but nobody else seemed to notice. Now I don't even notice it anymore. I guess I'm getting used to the "eccentric-ness" of my field.