Electrophys Update

I’ve not written in a bit about the trials and tribulations of getting an electrophys rig up and running.  As an update, I believe that I’ve located the major problem in the system.  The ringers solution being used was made by a previous grad student, and had been sitting in the fridge for some time with parafilm over it.  Well, it turns out the parafilm wasn’t sealing things in so well, and the solution was supersaturated to the point of precipitating solid.  I didn’t realize this was way off until looking up ringers solutions and finding that not not that much in the way of salts go into the stock, and therefore precipitation shouldn’t be happening.  This was making the electrode pulling almost impossible (I’m guessing the ones I pulled before will be rediculously high impedance with the new solution), and led me to try innumerable solutions.  While some might consider all that time wasted, I really don’t look at it that way.In graduate school, I believe, one needs to develop a bit of an immunity towards repeated obstacles.  Keeping focused on finding solutions, and realizing that much time will be spent getting past obstacles is the only way to survive.  If you don’t expect all that, or come to expect all that, I’d imagine that things could be quite miserable.  I think that’s also probably why graduate school isn’t for everyone.  If one is already frustrated after undergrad, you’re probably not going to pick up steam spending another several years working on things.  If, however, you’re not, and you keep in mind Rule #1 (most of your time will be spent trying to fix things), it can be pretty awesome.  You basically get to pick out your own project and work on what you like without worrying about getting product out the door by next quarter, regardless of flaws still present.  I’m not saying here that one’s research ends up being perfection in the end, I would say instead that things don’t generally get swept under the carpet.  They definitely do when immediate profit is the goal.

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