Sunday, May 5, 2013

Are You a Lab Gremlin?


Take the Lab Gremlin Quiz

1.  When encountering equipment for the first time, you:
a. Read all of the instructions before operating the equipment
b. Start operating the equipment, but ask for help if you are uncertain
c. Just keep pressing buttons—eventually it will start back up again

2.  When planning experiments, you
a. Use optimization software to calculate ideal design of experiments
b. Sit with your advisor and reason through the next sets of experiments
c. Just delve in. A month in the lab can save an hour in the library

3.  Your hands are:
a. Like precision surgical instruments
b. Mostly okay unless you’re had too much coffee
c. Mostly feet

4.  Your eyesight is:
a. 20/20 or better
b. Correctable with proper optics, which are always worn
c. Highly variable along a wide range of timescales

5. When you have a question about something in the lab, you
a. Ask someone else right away
b. Try to solve the problem for a day, and then ask co-researcher or advisor
c. You have never had a question while working in a lab

6. Your worst lab blunder ever:
a. You have never blundered in the lab
b. broke a diamond during alignment
c. dropped half the worlds’ supply of a rare mineral on the floor

Add Total Score:  0 points for each a, 1 point for b., 2 points for c.
0-3: You are an exemplary lab person; hope the gremlins stay away!
4-8: If you are new to the lab, you should up your game. If you were once exemplary, you might be descending into Gremlindom.
9-12: I'm sorry, Lab Gremlin. It's time to become a theorist or a modeler. Or just get back to writing proposals.

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