Week 10: The Realities of Scientific Research

Tomorrow is the last official day of my summer of undergraduate research.  Over the course of the summer, I’ve learned a lot about both extended kinetic method experiments and scientific research in general.

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Being Well-Read

At our weekly lab meeting today, each lab member presented a short synopsis on a journal article of our choice.  Our article needed to be relevant to our individual project and helped to keep us informed on the progress going on in the specific field.  Using the extended kinetic method and computations to determine gas-phase basicities and proton affinities of amino acids is not being solely experimented on by the WM Ionlab, as you would imagine.  There is a small, but active group of gas phase ion chemists researching thermochemical data of amino acids.

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Week 6 Update

At the end of last week, the Ionlab has temporarily put a pause on further data acquisition for my original extended kinetic method project.  One of the results of working in a lab that relies so heavily on instrumentation is that one instrument, in this case, the triple quad, is used for more than one project.

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“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” – Albert Einstein

Many people compare chemistry to cooking.  If you follow the directions, you’ll end up making a tasty cake.  In some aspects of my project, this is accurate.  However, the extended kinetic method has so many more nuances than a simple recipe.  Regarding the experimental part of my project, there are two sections: solution-making and data acquisition.

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The Less Glamorous Side of Scientific Research

This week, my research professor and two of our most senior lab members are at a conference.  That means for myself and the two remaining lab members, we’re left with the frustrating, but necessary job of inventory.

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