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.”
“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.
LOL! How close are you to get that Ph.D?
You know, at this point I’m not even going to jinx myself. Let’s just say I still foresee quite a few late night lab visits and non-existent weekends yet.
OK, I am not a PhD, but it still took a bit to figure out what “filter sterilize” meant. But let me see if I’ve got it right. A 0.2 micron filter will remove all bacteria, because we know all bacteria are larger than 0.2 microns. But what about viruses?
Yes, it will filter out the bacteria but not the viruses. That’s a con. But some media gets messed up if you autoclave it or do some sort of chemical sterilization, so filter sterilization ends up the way to go.