Tag Archives: lab

Writing prompt: World Laboratory Day

Time: 10 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“World Laboratory” (Inspired by this list of silly holidays.)


The capsule docked at the World Laboratory station. Dr. Trinner pushed gingerly from weightlessness into the gentle rotational gravity. The door slipped closed.

“Your laboratory is a ways from the dock. It’s all allotted by need, the labs with heavier shipping duties are near here, the vacuum labs are surface labs, the gravity labs rotate faster, the zero g labs are on the axis.”

“It’s all right, I wouldn’t mind stretching out,” Trinner assured the nervous guide. Her reputation obviously preceded her. But it had been years since the Erlenmeyer Incident…

Strictly speaking, her research didn’t benefit at all from work in space. But as a child, she had dreamt of being an astronaut. Doing science on a space station was damned near the next best thing. The station had jumped at the opportunity to have a Nobel winner onboard.

The light gravity was disorienting, harder on her stomach than zero g somehow.“How many are onboard now?” She braced against the walls of the corridor.

“30%, about,” the guide responded. “Some of the laboratories require special work and will take longer to complete. It will be pretty peaceful for a while here!”

“Other than the construction,” Trinner said.

“Yes, other than that.”


Trinner was alone in the lab. Some colleagues would follow in a couple of days. Her quarters were in the cluster near that lab section. It felt like science camp, living and breathing science, away from the cares of the world.

The construction echoed through the bulkheads from time to time. But there were other noises that Trinner couldn’t explain—voices. Voices came from the walls, in languages she didn’t know. She wondered if it were recordings of radio or television, but she couldn’t find a source.


Writing Prompt: Cleaning the Lab

Time: 7 minutes. Click here to go to my list of prompts.

“Cleaning the lab”

Ash scowled at the mess sitting in front of her. What a mess decades of research could produce. Now, as the last student, it was her job to clean all of it, whether she knew what it was or not. What a graduation present!

She started with the stack of archaic computers. No one even knew the passwords to operate them anymore, not that anyone should care to. Top of the line, decades ago. If you need to make a killer cassette recording, this is your machine! She loaded them onto a cart, bringing them batch by batch to the electronic reclamation center. Their problem now. Three cartloads later, and at least that batch of junk was gone. The dust under the pile was incredible. While it wasn’t her job to clean the dirt of the lab, something was too disgusting about this dust not to try to improve. She didn’t have any cleaning implements. She wetted a rag and wiped the worst of it away. Three lines of the dirt remained, sinking into the painted cinderblock walls. They almost looked like a door…

She looked closer, and the cracks were the dirt had stuck seemed to penetrate into the concrete. She thought of the floor plan for the building—was there anything on the other side of this wall? There was an office next door, but it seemed like there was a dead space in between. She would have assumed it was for ventilation, if she’d ever thought of it before, but now she was looking at a tiny, bizarre door, about 2 feet high and 2 feet across. She got a crow bar from across the room and wedged it into the crack. She pulled, and the door yielded. Inside were thousands of tiny sprites, chained to tiny desks, in a room no more than 4 feet by 4 feet.

“What on earth is this?” She exclaimed, more to herself than them.

“We make the science,” one of them said, forlornly, before returning its hands to its intricate task at hand.

The Beautiful Lab

Across the country, thousands of labs study thousands of topics. In my lab, we study nonlinear dynamics in electrochemical oscillators. The dynamics of these oscillators can be used to make math models for other oscillators we might be very interested in, like heart cells, breathing, and neurons in the brain. Oscillators and their dynamics show up in many places. In a previous post on synchrony, I discuss some of these dynamics.

My experiments aren’t particularly much to look at. The beauty in mostly in the data. But here are a few of my better snaps over the years. There can also be science in the photographic technique. The bottom two photos were taken using reverse lens macro, a cheap way to do great zoom shots.

From top to bottom the photos below show: the electrochemical 3 electrode cell, the variable resistance resistors for each electrode, and a capacitor. The featured image is of some resistors.