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What's in an error bar anyways?
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Nick Fahrenkopf
Albany, New York

In 1955 while addressing the National Academy of Sciences Richard Feynman stated "Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty." As usual, Feynman's statement was spot on, and holds true decades later. In his famous "Plenty of Room at the Bottom" lecture Feynman talked about what we now call nanotechnology, and all the different applications. Here I am, half a century later, working "at the bottom" and living in a world of uncertainty. I hope to share some of the exciting discoveries at the nanoscale and explain how they apply to my passion of biotechnology- as well as the everyday world. Learn more about Nicholas Fahrenkopf

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Comment by Nick Fahrenkopf in What's in an error bar anyways?

lkasdjfsaid: The difference is not in the fields of study, but rather in the two different types of work . . .Read More
Nov 27, 2012, 9:34am
Comment by Nick Fahrenkopf in What's in an error bar anyways?

Brian Krueger, PhDsaid: Since you're working on semiconductor sequencing, what do you think of Oxford Na. . .Read More
Nov 27, 2012, 9:28am

Good one . . .Read More
Oct 15, 2012, 12:42am
Comment by lkasdjf in What's in an error bar anyways?

The difference is not in the fields of study, but rather in the two different types of work being done.  In the example, the EE is making an new device,  -- i.e. developing a new type of technolo. . .Read More
Sep 07, 2012, 11:38am
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Sunday, January 1, 2012

With 2012 officially here we're all making resolutions. I've pledged to eat breakfest out less (bagel and cream cheese is so good!) and to blog at least once a month (sorry I've been scarce!) I think now is also a great time to make some New Year's Resolutions for the lab too. Here's what I have planned, if you have some more in mind leave them in the comments!


Safety First! With the recent news out of UCLA bringing up the tradgedy a few years ago, safety is on my mind again. We had an accident a few months back in our lab too- luckily nothing nearly as bad- so it can happen to anyone. I'm taking this time to reaffrim my policy of safety goggles and gloves any time I'm in any lab or clean room. In addition, any time I'm in a wet lab I'll wear my lab coat. It doesn't matter how quick I'll be in and out, or how trivial something is, you never know when something can go wrong, and unforunately you never know what someone else in the lab is doing, or how safe they are. I also want to be more proactive and ask everyone else around me to wear the same PPE so hopefully they get in the habit too. Finally, whenever I'm doing science outreach I want to make sure I'm setting a good example to the kids, no matter how not dangerous the demonstration might be.


READ! One of my resolutions is to read more. I have a seperate Google Reader set up that pulls the new papers from all the journals I'm remotely interested in. I'm pretty good about going through and "starring" the ones I might be interested in, but I'm terrible about going back and reading them. In fact, I usually only REALLY read a paper unless I'm doing a literature search, trying a new experiment, getting ready for journal club, or someone sends me one. My resolution is to set aside time for reading 5 papers a week. Not only do I know it will help my knowledge of the field(s) but it will hopefully give me more fodder for blogging!


WRITE! The other thing (OK, one of the things) I've been slacking on is my lab notebook. I'm usually really good about writing details about my experiments and results when I get something to work, but I need to do better about documenting when things don't work. It seems like a waste of time and energy, but I've realized recently knowing exactly what I've tried before- even if it didn't work- can be very helpful. My resolution is to set aside the last 30 minutes or so of each day to write what I've done in the lab- almost like a lab diary.


Those are my big three resolutions for the lab for 2012, what are your's?



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Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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Read and write are always good resolutions for a scientist.  I have to agree with those.  We have a couple papers that need to get out.  I think my biggest resolution will be to focus more on my "Academic" side project in lab.  I've gotten to caught up in training people and other core lab functions :P

All the best to you in the new year, Nick!

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