Decisions, DNAN, and Day trip!
Monday, I finished running our preliminary trials of DNAN and looked at the data I had collected to try to see how long I would need to run each experiment for. I think I have times ranging from 24 hours to 3 or more weeks! But, I couldn't start those right away, since we went on a fun field trip to Astoria on Tuesday(more on that later). So, I started them all on Wednesday, taking sample after sample, and running them all. I was very glad I brought my sweater that day - standing in the cold room all day without it would not have been fun. Then, more of the same on Thursday, with a few of the samples (like the pH 12 in the 55 degree bath) that were completely reacted removed, and again the same on Friday, when it was mostly just doing the really cold slow trials. However, we also had an interesting talk on how to balance careers and life (mostly from the perspective of research).
The talk went over quite a few topics I know I'll have to think about at some point, such as dealing with the fact that you probably won't be choosing your place of work with just yourself in mind, and that at some point, you'll probably want to have kids, and doing a PhD means that you'll be starting a job later in life. There were several other considerations that we discussed that I hadn't directly considered, such as geography, flexibility, and suchlike. However, I think I was sort of aware of those considerations a little when I was trying to choose a college, but I think I'll be more aware for future decisions.
Astoria, though, was a lot of fun. Fabulous Oregon weather - kinda cold, windy, grey, with some rain as we left. Although my project doesn't directly pertain to the research that is done on the Columbia Estuary there, it was really cool to get to see the field station, and be introduced to all of their equipment and techniques. I've never before considered the mechanics of how to get a sensor down into the Columbia and keep it there throughout the year, with all of the stuff that flows down that river, and the wind and the waves in the winter. It made me really appreciate the data that they get, since I could see the effort and energy that goes into fixing things when they inevitably go wrong. Then, up to the Astoria column, where we were able to see the channels and have an overview of the water system we were just introduced to. After lunch up there, we headed down to the Maritime Museum for a guided tour, which basically taught me just how dangerous it is to cross the bar, and just how long ships have being doing that. The artifacts that they have in the museum are fabulous, and I liked that they had some hands-on things for us to do, such as making rope, and learning to tie knots. A pretty good day overall.