In Which Priorities (And Projects) Change

The wonderful thing about research is that it so rarely goes as planned.

This has been an extremely productive summer. All of it has been filled with important and relevant chemistry. Some of it has been mass spectrometry work. None of it has been related to Goniondomin A. So let’s talk about why.

It turns out that salt is in everything. It also turns out that this is deeply inconvenient when you’re trying to measure the relative concentrations of salt. There’s sodium in our glassware. There’s sodium in our pipette tips. There’s sodium in our 18-crown-6. There’s even sodium and potassium contamination in our potassium and sodium.┬áThis is okay on its own. As long as its just contamination at a constant level, we can measure and account for that. So why haven’t we charged ahead?

Well, we’d really like to use a different mass spectrometer to do the research. If we tried to measure the contamination, its relative signal and the ranges affected will be different on different instruments. We could run more preliminary experiments on the mass spectrometer we’ve already been using, but we’d have to run them all again once the new MS is up and running.

That seemed a little silly, and so I talked with the Charles Center and my adviser. We all agreed that perhaps a different area of research may prove more fruitful. Stay tuned- coming up next is a tale of crystals, polymers, and the national meeting of ACS.

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