by syaffolee

I’ll Take Some Surly Undergrads, Please

Sometimes, I wonder why certain people have PhDs when it’s obvious that they just don’t get it. Example, this morning. From another lab, a support scientist with a PhD comes in to do some stuff since we have some equipment that they don’t. He asks me how he’s supposed to sterilize some media as he points me to a protocol that some other grad student had written down in her lab notebook. The protocol says, rather obviously, filter sterilize.

“So do you sterilize by UV light*?” he asks.

“No. You filter sterilize.” I point to those exact words in the notebook.

“So you use the UV light.”

“No! You filter sterilize.”

“What filter?”

“You know, a 0.2 micron filter?” At his blank look, I go into a detailed explanation of what a filter is, why someone would use one, and how to use it. With extensive arm motions to emphasize my points.

“Oh, a filter,” he says. “So I stick the media under the UV light…”

No!! You don’t use a UV light at all. You sterilize with the filter.”

That blank look again. And I still don’t think he got it when I had to rush off to a seminar**. Or maybe he thinks he’ll just play dumb so I’ll do the work for him since I’m just some lowly grad student and all. As if. I have my own projects to worry about. I really don’t envy the people who actually have to work with him.

*At this point, I’m thinking, Who the hell sterilizes liquid with a UV light? Are you freakin’ daft?
**Which happened to be on stress-relief, curiously enough. How timely.