Wednesday, 2 July 2008

...In Which We Play The Waiting Game

Science is exciting. Being on the cutting edge of novel research is exciting. What alot of people don't realize, though, is that there are parts of science which can be downright boring. Those parts are the waiting parts.

Molecular biology is probably the most notorious for its waiting periods. The techniques used in my field can be pretty technical and can be tough to understand and do, but there is alot of waiting around. Want to do PCR? Put your PCR mix in the thermocycler, press 'start' and sit back and wait for 2.5 hours while the machine does the work for you. Want to transform bacteria? Take your competent cells, give 'em your plasmid, and put them in the incubator for 2 hours and go for coffee. The worst waiting comes when you have to order supplies. We put an order in for a site-directed mutagenesis kit and an order for the synthesis of a few genes last week; they have yet to arrive (and the kit is on backorder until next week). Until then, there's really nothing we can do in the lab. So we sit. And wait.

Research is awesome. It's just the waiting that sucks.


Ian said...

I hear you loud on clear on that.

C.W.G.K said...

I find the best way to ease the pain of waiting is to read through journal articles while the minutes tick by. Nature is great, but checking out what's new on the Plublic Library of Science is fun since it lets you comment on the papers for the authors' consideration.