I am cranky and frustrated and PMSing. Aren't you glad you stopped by?
First of all, what the heck is that little wheelchair symbol thing on the comments page?!
We still have helium. The nightmare just won't end. Dr. Hari found some money in some grant account that he has to spend before the semester ends so I had to order 200 more liters. My heart dropped when he told me to order more.
So after I ordered the helium we realized we may not have enough samples to run to use up all that helium. I had an idea for a project involving my collaboration with the medical school. Because I know they are not physicists over there, I sent them a paper that a guy from my lab published awhile back outlining an analogous experiment to the one I had in mind. Because one of the guys in the lab I'm collaborating with makes magnetic nanoparticles, I thought this project would be perfect. Briefly, the previous paper studied the differences in properties of magnetic nanoparticles coated with different chemicals using our signature experiment. I figured if my collaborators coated magnetic nanoparticles with different biological molecules and I performed this signature experiment on them it would be a project absolutely no one else has done. My co-advisor in medicine thought this was a great idea and told me to come over and pick up four samples! Four samples is a physicist's dream. That's roughly four days of experiments, the electronic equivalent of reams of data, and hopefully a publication.
I went over there to pick up my stash, and noticed that the vials were full of white powder, unlike the dark brown or black samples I am accustomed to.
"Um, may I ask exactly what these sample are?"
He looked at me as if I were a moron.
"They are polymer nanoparticles."
For those of you who don't know materials, "polymer" is basically a fancy word for plastic. Is plastic magnetic? No. Thus, can I perform any meaningful measurements upon said materials? Hell no.
Me being the absolute coward that I am did not argue with my co-advisor. I just took the samples and left. I have no freaking clue what to do with them.
That was Thursday. Things have gone further downhill from there. I measured four samples over the weekend for a lab mate of mine who is very sweet but not always very competent with our $300,000 machine. Normally our post doc would do the measurements for her but he was out of town. I was oddly flattered that he asked me to do all the measurements. He apparently thinks I am at least marginally more competent than the other girl. He may now have his doubts. It was pointed out to me today that I screwed up ONE LINE OF COMPUTER CODE and lost a third of the data. I think I'm more upset that it's not even my data so I can't really just shrug it off and say "live and learn". I have to answer to the post doc and my incompetent lab mate who technically should have been doing her own experiments. I'm not trying to push the blame off of me. Maybe I'm just not ready to be responsible for other people's stuff.
And lastly, Professor Hottie's sample. Our experiment measures frequencies at 12 megahertz with a sensitivity of only a few Hertz. That's one part in a million. We usually run a sample twice to make sure nothing is amiss and then talk our results over with our collaborator that provided the sample. I have measured this freaking sample SEVEN TIMES. SEVEN TIMES, and I can't get reproducible results. I'm am terrified I'll have call this guy up and say, "Hello, I'm a retard. And by the way, I totally have the hots for you." I have a theory about what's up with this sample, but when I asked Prof. Hottie after the second time if the measurement should be angle dependent, he said no. I think either he has to be wrong, or I can't tell my rear end from a hole in the ground. Which is also very likely.
And I'm almost out of f*cking truffles.
Faithful readers, if you have read this scientific rant, you are the best family, friends, blog buddies, and lurkers an over emotional female physicist could ask for.