Figuring out what works best

The problem with science is that you never get it right the first time or the second time or even the hundredth time. The key is to always keep chugging along with ideas and plans and hoping for the best, while expecting the worst. That pretty much sums up all our work this summer. We’ve gone through numerous designs for the pulley and finally settled on a quite simplistic setup that should make it very simple for now. We’ve also replaced the cross plates where our screens were attached. There were just numerous issues that now seem so clear, yet three weeks ago I probably couldn’t have imagined them.

It may seem like I am only spouting out bad news, but the truth is we have learned from each little mishap and issue and have improved the design each time. In all honesty it is much better that we solved these problems now while the craft sits in the boat basin of VIMS, instead of trying to deal with it while we are out on the tumultuous York River.

In preparation for the move to the York River I’ve been preparing certain precautions to make sure we do not lose our parts to the river. I’m working on ordering and installing parts that would secure the screens securely to the craft instead of how we have it now where it rests nestled in the middle of the craft without any strict attachment. I am also working on a PVC frame that would help keep the screens locked in place, especially near the bottom of the screens, which do not have anything spacing them apart. Hopefully when we have everything set up and ready out on the water I can start working on the underwater harvesting system, which will once again be an improvement on our current system. That seems to be the heart of this summer’s project and science in general, making something, seeing that it’s not the best, and trying to make it better.


  1. mrstern says:

    That’s essentially been my summer in lab too. For seven weeks I’ve been making small refinements in my experimental procedure with small but noticeable changes in the data. It’s frustrating but that’s the way it goes. Last summer it took me ten weeks just to find the proper antibody dilution for immunofluoresence assays.