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Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures

Tiny, Tragic Lab Pleasures

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?


  1. Madhuri on September 21, 2018 at 12:20 pm

    Loading samples for SDS gel, the loading dye floating down in the gel pockets..aaaah what pleasure! The gel running smooth and in the end having beautiful blots!

  2. kmose on February 1, 2012 at 2:39 am

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

  3. Shar Waldrop on August 20, 2010 at 9:25 pm

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

  4. Ari Shukla on August 18, 2010 at 7:07 am

    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.

  5. Victor Flores on August 12, 2010 at 3:54 am

    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. mike jones on August 10, 2010 at 1:45 am

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

  7. Shana Garrett on August 9, 2010 at 8:23 pm

    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!

  8. Gough Au on August 7, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    “ejecting all 8 tips from the multichannel pipettor at the same time”. Yes!! 🙂

  9. Ajia Presnell on August 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm

    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. 🙂

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