I apologize for the recent hiatus in blog posts, we have been busy dealing with a multitude of problems in lab this past week:
1. A recent badger infestation required an evacuation of the lab until Katie could brew all of the badgers into sweet badger tea. The lab enjoyed this beverage together during group meeting.
2. Our lab is in the midst of another infestation: C16 and C18 fatty acids. These little buggers come from your cell membranes and will contaminate your samples, even with the most diligent glove-wearing and triple rinsing with our delicious flavors of solvent: MeOH, DCM, and hexane. On Friday we came to the unsettling conclusion that if you breathe next to a clean GC vial, derivitize that seemingly empty vial, and run it thru our GCMS, peaks for C16 and C18 fatty acids will dominate your spectrum! While I am pleased that I can now tell the world that I breathe acid, this contamination is not so helpful for chemistry. To curb the spread of these demons, the following protocol will be observed:
- Breathing is now prohibited in lab, all researchers must breathe thru Teflon coated Scuba gear when walking around lab
- No exposed skin in lab
3. Raney Nickel, my prized catalyst, is a dangerous compound known to explode in flames when exposed to air. I was
disappointed nervous when my own Nickel was not that dramatic, so last week I ran a quick test to see if the catalyst was indeed functional. To my relief, I successfully desulfurized 2-mercaptoethanol and confirmed the efficacy of the catalyst. The downside was that I smelled like 2-mercaptoethanol for the rest of the day (for those of you who don’t know, this compound smells like the farts of a horse that eats rotting eggs). Our lab neighbor, Karin Akerfeldt, fondly informed me that I should take a bath in bleach to get rid of the smell.
In other news, our lab enjoyed a lunch expedition to Suburban Square last week. This brief vacation included visits to Sweet Green, the candy store, the Apple store, and possibly a parking ticket. Look how spoiled we are:
Until next time, ponder this question: are you a mongoose or a penguin?