What better way to commemorate an Olympic year than to have your very own Lab Olympics?
Lab Olympics can boost lab morale when it is low or inject some fun into your daily routine*. If you work in a large lab it is even better; you can pit guys against girls, postdocs against PhD students or MSc against PhD etc.
Or if you want to get really fancy, you can create an inter-lab event, bringing together different labs from the same vicinity for a feisty competition. Just make sure you have some good prizes on hand, e.g. a new lab coat or a nice shiny new timer.
Bring Sochi into your lab with the follow events:
Event 1: Tip box filling competition
The fastest person to fill 5 tip boxes wins.
Event 2: Ice bucket relay
This works especially well if the ice machine is on a different floor. Racers must take an ice bucket, run to the ice machine, fill the bucket, bring it back down, empty it and pass it on to the next person who repeats it in true relay style until every member in your team has had their go.
Event 3: Pipette tip firing squad
Usually held after Event 1. The object is to aim the pipette and shoot the tip at a target: for novices the target can be a tip waste container; real sharpshooters should aim for a 50ml tube (extra points for that one of course).
Event 4: Tube labeling frenzy
The fastest person to legibly label 10 tubes with a set descriptor wins. Illegible labels will lose you points. You need to be careful who you chose for this one, they need to be fast but also have neat hand writing.
Event 5: Accurate aliquots
Each team is given a defined amount of liquid and has to accurately aliquot different stipulated amounts ranging from 5ul to 10ml. For a real challenge, add 0.1% Triton-X and stipulate no bubbles: aliquots with bubbles means losing points.
Event 6: The fastest filler
The fastest person/team to fill 12 autoclave bags/containers with Eppendorf tubes of 1.5ml, 0.6ml and 0.2ml sizes wins.
This is great fun and promotes team work as well as a little competition among your lab mates; especially during these cold months when playing outdoor sports at lunch time is off the cards.
Have Lab Olympics ever made it to your lab? What were the events?
*Disclaimer: Lab Olympics might best be played when the boss is away (not that I am condoning any sort of shenanigans)