Our lab is moving! Our floor got taken over by a different department, so they’re moving us to a different floor in the same building (fortunately, since it was almost 100*F outside today, and this process would be a lot more miserable if we had to lug stuff across campus instead of just up and down the elevator). The rest of our department got moved last year, although for some reason they let us stay for an extra year? I think it is because my advisor is known for having a really loud bark, and nobody wanted to mess with him until they really had to (he likes to refer to himself as the baddest dog on the block– which is occasionally good for us, and occasionally bad for us). Anyway, our time has come, and I spent a few hours this afternoon helping Labmates A, Li, and J move most of the fragile equipment.
Labmate Li and I were grabbing stuff off of the high shelves that have been there since long before either of us joined the lab, and we kept finding new and wonderful things that we could have used if only we had known they existed! We found a mixer, and she said, “I’ve been mixing my samples by hand for a year! What the crap!” We also found 3 timers that no longer work, several centrifuges, microscopes, some sort of attachment for a UV spectrometer, ovens galore, and much, much more. Also a blender which, when I asked Labmate A, he told me that the only known use for it that he recalls was to make margaritas when they did fieldwork in Panama a few years ago.
I was also shocked at how dirty some of our lab equipment is. We were rolling up sections of, uhh, that stuff you lay down on surfaces to make them non-slippery, and one of them had a moderate dusting of cupric acetate all over it. We were doing this with our bare hands, mind you. At that point we all rushed for the sink to wash our hands and put on gloves. This is serious business, yo.
We’re moving more stuff tomorrow. Maybe I’ll take pictures of all the treasures I find lost in the stacks of old and broken equipment.