Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures

on 6th of August, 2010 in Fun Stuff
About the Author:
Emily Crow is a freelance scientific editor and the founder of Science Traduite, a French to English service specifically for life science researchers. She has a PhD in Moelcular Biology from Northwestern University and a BA in French from Wheaton College.

John’s comment on Jode’s recent article here on Bitesize Bio: "Good idea on marking the rotor for 3 tubes Jode. One of those tiny (perhaps tragic) pleasures is when you drop the 3 tubes in quickly and get in spaced perfectly first time. Because usually its drop them in and then move one tube 1 space over and then 1 other tube 1 space back." made me laugh in recognition.

How many of us can identify with that small surge of pleasure when something tiny and insignificant goes right in the lab?  Here are a few things that will make me smile any day:

  • getting tubes balanced in the microfuge on the first try (so right, John!)
  • weighing out a sample to exactly 20.00 g on the balance
  • having just enough paper in the printer to print out an article
  • entering sample 1000 in the -80°C database
  • grabbing the right number of tubes for all your samples without counting
  • ejecting all 8 tips from the multichannel pipettor at the same time
  • finding the microscope already set to the right objective and filter
  • having enough different Sharpie colors to label all your different samples
  • dividing a piece of tinfoil exactly to cover bottles for autoclaving, with no scraps left over
  • filling up every well of an agarose gel

What tiny pleasures in the lab can make your day?

8 thoughts on “Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures”

  1. Oooh, I love it when I grab the right number of tubes w/out counting! I have one that is similar to your tinfoil pleasure…cutting a piece of Saran wrap or transparency film in half so the halves match precisely, when sandwiching a piece of nitrocellulose for Western blot film development. :)

  2. Avatar of Gough Au Gough Au says:

    "ejecting all 8 tips from the multichannel pipettor at the same time". Yes!! :-)

  3. 1. Having enough pipette tips for the day without needing to refill the box and autoclave them.
    2. Finding that someone has already made the TAE buffer.
    3. Student workers to wash the dishes!

  4. Avatar of Mike D. Jones mike jones says:

    I love making designs in my tip boxs with the tips. Sometimes checker patterned, some times stripes.

  5. Another pleasure is that in which you have multiple samples for the big centrifuge, and they somehow match, so you don't have to balance them. Or finding an agarose gel, that someone prepared earlier, and getting exactly the right number of wells for your samples, no need to prepare an extra gel n_n

  6. Avatar of djarrii Ari Shukla says:

    weighing the exact quantity in the first trial…thats indeed a pleasure.
    and ejecting the tip from a micro-pipette to make it fall right in the bin which is 5 feet away from u ! Thats indeed a trickshot.

  7. Avatar of SLW Shar Waldrop says:

    A day when everything works. Finding that someone has replaced the pipette box with a full one.

  8. Avatar of kmose kmose says:

    Stretching the parafilm around a plate without breaking it. Or winning a parafilm stretching contest. Anything with parafilm, really.

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