I smell an amine

Trip Start May 09, 2009
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Trip End Aug 08, 2009


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Flag of Singapore  ,
Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Yesterday was my first full day at the lab- a real eye opening experience.  Remember when we thought that 3 hour labs were long.  Well, yesterday was a freaking 12 hours.  This is apparently normal for the grad students here.  One guy starts at 10 and leaves the lab at 12:30 in the morning.  Bottom line: I am turning into a lab rat, and I'm doing nothing to stop it.  (Actually, that's a lie, I draw the line at 9ish because then my eyes just start to droop and I mess too many things up by that time to justify staying- I'd probably set something on fire if I stayed)

I got lost AGAIN on the way to the bus stop, which is so incredibly stupid because I know EXACTLY where it is!  I live on the 4th level (they call them levels here, not floors, again... odd, but the elevators and everything here is super high tech.  Essentially I need to get to the first floor, but the elevator refuses to let me go there.  My only option is 2nd floor (which leads to a dead end laundry room) or the basement (smelly garbage chute).  I chose the basement option yesterday, and attempted to find the bus stop from there- a really smelly experience. 

As promised, I ran a synthesis yesterday!!  What I learned: lab manuals are godly.  In teaching labs, alls you gotta do is follow the lab manual to a T.  In "research" you gotta come up with the stuff all on your own. 

I know the reaction I'm trying to do, I know theoretically the reagents needed.  The spoiled little brat in me expects all the things I need right on the lab bench, but that is not the reality.  It took about an hour for me to figure out how to use this program in the lab- you search your regents (by full name, no abbreviations- ) to locate them.  Then you gotta THAW IT OUT!!! (I never realized that most things are not stored at room temperature... is it maybe because room temp is like 30degrees here, that everything needs to be refridgerated? ).  Then proceed with the reaction.  Then there are the reaction conditions- temperatures lower than what an ice bath can provide (I've never done any reaction that needed to be colder than what ice could do before..).  Hence my first experience with dry ice.  It was sort of neat, you take it out of the fridge and put it on the floor, then you hack at it with a hammer... Pretty scientific eh?  Also, out of the 12 hours spent at the lab, I think I spent 9 of them washing things.  Everything has to be washed, mostly first in water, then in acetone; unless it's being used for something that is extrememly reactive in water, in which case you use only acetone.  How much acetone did I use yesterday?  Enough to melt your fingernails, I'm sure.  I am also permantently smelling acetone, I think it has burned all my noes hairs off.  Oh well, "so it goes"........
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Comments

marioem
marioem on

Dimethyl Ketone
Haha i find your blog posts very funny. I hope the isolation/purification of your substance goes well, it would really suck if that 12 hour day would lead up to nothing, but practice makes perfect, and if it doesn't go well im sure your PI will be more then happy to put you on pernament cleaning duty! (im sure you would really enjoy that hahaha).

This whole thing with these electronic keys and limited floor access seems kind of dumb, what if there is like a fire, and people need to leave a particular floor? wouldn't the lack of keys screw everything up? But so it goes right? hahaha

anyways, im not awaiting your next entry!

spaniard
spaniard on

12 hours?
12 hours of work, i thank god everyday for 40 hour work weeks.

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