You know you spend too much time in the lab when…

friedrich august kekule von stradonitz benzeneI hope I’m not the only chemist who frequently wakes up in the morning to realize I’d just been wasting my sleep time by dreaming about chemistry. Kekule famously dreamt a useful dreamprobably a daydream, but it was about the structure of benzene being analogous to a snake chasing its tail, but mine – so far – have been just silliness. Here are a couple from the past week:

Dream 1: Stir Bars was a very happy dream. In it, I discovered a hidden stash of stir barssmall teflon-coated magnetic bar that you add to a reaction; it can be rotated by an external magnet (stir plate) to stir your reaction, somewhere over by the gloveboxes in my lab. LOTS of stir bars, in all different sizes and colors (red, blue… why stick to the standard white in a dream?). I was literally holding an entire fistful of stir bars, and feeling very prosperous. The thoughts that crossed my mind were (1) how much less frequently I’d have to do aqua regiaa mixture of HCl and HNO3 used to clean metals off of stir bars and stuff and (2) where I should hide them so they wouldn’t get swiped.

Dream 2: Deuterated Hexanes was one of those dreams where you feel like you’ve stumbled upon a very important discovery (and then you wake up and realize it was just stupid). In this dream, one of my colleagues was trying to order deuterated hexanes so she could de-grease her NMR tubes (which she’d apparently gotten all greasy somehow). I informed her that she could just degrease the tubes with regular hexanes and then stick them in the oven to get the solvent off. For whatever reason, in my dream I felt like the bearer of some profound insight. Yeah, and then I woke up.

The other One of the other indicators that I’ve been spending too much time in lab*, of course, is that I’ve been quite cramped on time for writing blog posts. So this one shall have to suffice for today.

Any other chemists out there dream about chemistry?

*On the off chance that my boss reads this – don’t worry, I use the phrase “too much time in lab” in the poetic sense, not to declare an intention to cut back on time in lab : )

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6 Responses to You know you spend too much time in the lab when…

  1. Chemjobber says:

    That’s quite funny, Sharon.

  2. I can totally see myself with handfuls of stir bars, in many colors, cackling over the bounty! SO many stir bars!!! Ah ha ha ha!

  3. Paul says:

    Another sign you’ve been spending too much time in the lab is trying to open your apartment door with your lab key.

  4. Ha – Paul, I’ve done that too… It gets confusing late at night.

  5. Stephanie Greenwood says:

    I love your blog, Sharon! My experience…

    You spend so much time in a lab that you want to create a band called Protocol Chloroform, and start writing a really bad song called “Wrap the World in Parafilm.” Yep. It happens.

    OR, you spend too much time in the entomology lab cleaning larvae containers, and you feel like you have caterpillar poop in your hair and all over you and you can’t get it off!

  6. Lauren says:

    You know you spend too much time in the lab when your sun glasses are your lab glasses


    You know you spend too much time in the lab when you confuse jello with Agarose gel!