Friday, August 22, 2008
I suddenly miss all the grunt work of undergrad. Doing the deadly organic chemistry experiments in laboratory rooms without running water. Identifying unknown substances that look suspiciously like table salt or sugar. Transferring strong acids inside the fume hood that has a fan that sounds like an airplane taking off. The endless parade of glassware to be washed and trying to outdo other classmates in the number of breakages incurred in one semester. Diluting solutions endlessly. Refilling the containers of distilled water. Trying to weigh hygroscopic solids in a blink. Computing for actual concentrations of the solutions by titration, making sure that the final color is as perfect as possible. Trying to figure out whether the electrons went to the HOMO or LUMO levels. Waiting for the DNA to run in the gels, then trying to compute for the molecular weights of the sequences from blurry bands on the pathetic x-rays. Furiously trying to make the distillation set-ups as stable as possible. Checking for sample purity using the chromatography machine. Wondering where the purines and pyrimidines really were synthesized from, given certain amino acids and other precursors. Illustrating the perfect electron clouds. Scratching out equations of the Beer-Lambert law after uncalibrated readings on the spectrophotometer. Finally computing for the specific density of a liquid at a certain temperature after six hours of waiting. Starting over and over a reaction mechanism just because you couldn't figure out which carbon was going to get attacked first by the nucleophilic hydroxyl group. Inventing new reaction mechanisms just because you could not remember the catalyst for the specific named reaction. Using the micropipettes with recycled tips. Trying to make the thesis set-up cooperate because the expensive enzymes were running out.
This is what studying local anesthetics does. I miss Biochem.