10 tips for the superstitious scientist

Experiments not working? Data not repeatable? Never fear, follow these simple guidelines to ensure experimental success:

1.) PCR

PCR is a fickle thing, one day it will work beautifully the next when you need to rerun the exact same experiment.. nothing happens. Why?  A quick pray to the PCR gods should help your PCR work successfully every time. If not, well, you must have annoyed them somehow.

Note: Make sure not to pray to the wrong PCR gods either- remember normal PCR and RT-PCR gods are completely different entities.

Note 2: Adding a mascot to a PCR machine will always help to appease the PCR gods.

2.) Western Blots

Western blots can be influenced by a wide range of external factors. Make sure to check for optimum lab environmental conditions before starting- wind direction, light intensity, and sound levels in the lab should all be considered.

3.) Cell cultures

Everyone knows that cells have an incubator shelf they enjoy more than the others. Placement on this shelf will help keep cells happy, and ensure optimal growth. Any other shelf just won’t do it.

4.) Altering pH

Don’t stare at the pH meter, it will make it nervous. Make sure your gaze is slightly off centre to get to the desired pH quickly.

5.) Plant transformation

Plants that feel loved will grow up happy. Make sure you say nice things to your plants in all stages of transformation to let them know they are loved. Without this love and encouragement your transformed plantlets are doomed to failure.

6.) HPLC

The HPLC machine is needy, and will need you to check on it at least 3 times during a run.  Fail to check on the run and the machine will venture off task leading to unusual  activity and data collection.

7.) Bacteria 

Bacteria are known to have a mischievous nature. Don’t let them know that their latest response was interesting, or as expected-  if you wish your results to be repeated.

8.) No good comes of experiments started after 4pm on Fridays.

The lab knows you need a break, and will ultimately see that your experiment fails if started after 4pm on a Friday afternoon.

9.) Don’t speak your supervisors name in the lab.

Speaking your Pi’s name in the lab will summon them to your bench at a crucial point in your experiment, thereby making your experiment go wrong.

10.) Lucky pants

Make sure you remember your lucky pants when carrying out cloning. Failure to wear lucky pants will lead to no positively cloned colonies.

Remember if in a new lab find out about common procedures such as speaking to mascots before experiments, and using certain machines at certain times to ensure experimental success.

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