Plate Pouring Should Be An Olympic Sport
Urg. I spent most of my weekend making agar plates. Two thousand of them, to be precise*. I could have spent the time being productive on something more interesting (or being completely lazy) if it had not been for some undergrads who had managed to mess up plate pouring earlier in the week**.
I guess I’m more annoyed with myself than with them–I’m totally not the type to micromanage, even when perhaps micromanaging is called for. Teaching how to do a protocol is one thing–I demonstrate first with verbal explanations, then I watch once or twice while the student performs the procedure to make sure that they’re doing it right. But otherwise, I usually have a kazillion and one other things to do, so I’m absent when people pay insufficient attention to the labels of chemicals*** and when things become fast and sloppy–thus sacrificing quality for quantity (which in the end, more time and materials are required to redo it).
A former post-doc had taped a quote on one of the fridges which says something to the effect that if you don’t have the time to do it right the first time, you don’t have time to do it again. I wish more people would read that and brand it on their foreheads.
*And at least two thousand more to go, all before the Big Crazy Experiment planned smack dab in the middle of Spring Break! Cows wait for no one…
**For a lot of people, making agar plates is the laboratory equivalent to boiling an egg. How the hell can they mess it up? One might ask. Well, you can mess it up plenty.
***Which judging from some stories I’ve heard about evacuations of the chemistry building, can be quite dangerous.