Friday, September 10, 2004

I'm Not Blogging

No indeed, not blogging. Studying. Only the stuff that's been happening in the lab is too entertaining not to write up, while I remember it. Also, I have more pictures. I'll attach them to this post, after I'm done.

I think the first picture will have to be the bolt that I twisted in half today. See, last time I was putting vacuum stuff together, Ken was still able to tighten everything a lot after I was done. And when he tightens stuff, he looks like he's putting real effort into it. I figured that I couldn't really tighten too much (after all, we're trying to get a really good vacuum) and that even if I could, I probably couldn't, with my girly muscles. I hauled on the wrench with most of my weight and nearly fell over backward when it slipped at one point, but still, when I went back to the ones I'd already tightened, they'd be a little loose again. Because, you see, in tightening the others I'd squeezed the plates closer again. Anyway, I was just about done when suddenly one of them felt really loose.Stainless steel bolt. Six inch handle on the wrench. It's all about the lever arm.

This is not by any means the biggest crisis we've had in the lab, though. Two days ago, we managed to overload a circuit. Ken thought it was just the surge protector -- which really should have blown first -- and didn't realize that all of his pumps had shut off, not just the one gauge which he plugged in elsewhere. When he realized, forty minutes later, what had really happened, he came into the office where the group was meeting looking like he'd just seen someone die. The whole group started tracing wires around the room, looking for breaker numbers, so they could flip the switch back. It took overnight for the vacuum to go back down. Ken was in checking on it at one a.m. (The two post-docs who normally would have been responsible for this stuff were both out of town.) And then after he left, the circuit blew on the other vacuum. That one's still not down to where it was. They're baking it -- that's what the picture of the thing wrapped in tinfoil is.

As for me: I tried to make a mu-metal box to shield something one of the other post-docs is working on from stray magnetic fields. This involved tracing and cutting out patterns, weirdly similar to sewing. I have also spent a fair amount of time waiting for rubidium to boil. A watched rubidium oven never does. And today I was doing dishes. Or anyway, cleaning out the ultrasound machine. Lab techs and housewifes have more in common than I would've thought.

The other pictures are a couple I took with the infrared viewer up against the camera lens. You can't quite make out the fluorescense in the vapor cell unless you know what you're looking for (the IR viewer is hard to focus, when you're not looking through it) but you can clearly see the infrared laser light bouncing off mirrors in the other -- those bright spots are not there at all to the naked eye.

Grr. Take that, stupid bolt!

Baking. Like you'd bake a potato.

The thin line at the center is the fluorescense.

Nothing is glowing when you look without the viewer.


Anonymous said...

Hey Hulkette, I wouldn't want to get on your bad side. Nice pics.


Mary said...

Grr! Qualifiers! Hulk smash!

Gidjabolgo said...

Hiya Mary,

I've succumbed, too. At insoluble.blogspot