Awkward Sayings in Science

Hello again, so far I have been able to post two blogs in one night, which is a miracle considering my previous track record. Recently, I have been writing in a notebook some awkward sayings that I have been either caught saying or thought about and jotted down. There is a lot of jargon that gets thrown around


at my job, and I did not realize how funny it could be for scientists to talk to normal people (because scientists are not normal) about science research. In particular, science jargon could be mistaken for some awkward and quite funny sayings to a new ear even though the intended message was unsullied (I promise!).

I will provide a cautionary note that some of the following sayings are simultaneously educational and inappropriate for children. If you are not a child, read on! However, if you are, read the sentences backwards. In that way, the sentences are unintelligible, yet child appropriate.

With that said, below are a few awkward sayings that I have discovered in the lab:

  1. When I have trouble making my solutions, I usually lubricate my pipette.
  2. I think I have too many STDs.
  3. Researcher:  Hey, what are you doing?
    Me:  Oh, I am just looking up streaking videos on YouTube :).
    Researcher:  …Streaking videos?
  4. Yeap, that powder is usually $1,000 for a kilo.
  5. I had it rough all day; I live in the hood!
  6. Welcome to the gene gun shooting gallery!
  7. I never wear ComfortGrip, I’m allergic to latex.
  8. Did you make a western sandwich today before lunch?
  9. So now I am running a kill curve on my specimens to see what will survive.
  10. I need to get more alcohol, I can’t be seen in the hood without it!

…What am I doing in my free time at work again? …Anyway, if you get any of these lab references, then both you and I have been in the lab too long! If you are mystified as to how any of this is lab related, then hooray, you’re normal! Feel free to read my explanations below for clarification.

  1. When I worked in a lab in Singapore, I remember it was very common for my mentor to lubricate the pipettes (often called pipettors or PipetMans, which doesn’t really help my case) to make sure that they don’t jam when using them to make solutions. One day, she showed me how to take the pipette apart and apply a lubricant to the internal mechanisms to reduce the risk of mechanism wear and tear. With this new knowledge, I was going to help anyone I could in the lab if they had pipette issues! …Then I realized how awkward that would sound.

  2. I commonly use the acronym STDs as an acronym for standards (mainly) or controls. One experiment that I was running did, in fact, have too many standards (STDs) and I made a mental note of it. Look, clean, I told ya!
  3. This was the funniest awkward saying by far in my experience. Someone was showing me how to perform a microbial plate streak in a manner that drastically differed from what I was previously doing in other labs and in my Microbiology course. So after the demonstration, I took it upon myself to go back to the office area and look up YouTube videos of scientists performing quadrant plate streaking method to confirm my original thoughts on that method. A researcher walked into the office area and noticed I was on YouTube, and the rest is history.
  4. This never actually happened with me, but I was quite shocked at how expensive some powders such as cefotaxime, timentin and MES powder, just to name a few, can be! Maintaining a laboratory can be more expensive than I thought. Talking about maintaining a laboratory (which sounds more like a drug habit) to an unfamiliar person is funnier than I thought. Wait, how did I actually know drug-related jargon such as “kilo” in the first place? …No comment.
  5. On a long day at work, I can spend an upwards of 5 to 6+ hours in a sterile hood–or biosafety cabinet, whichever you prefer. If and when that happens, I usually make a general remark that I live in the hood after the rough day is over. …Then I had a flashback to my childhood spending the summers in Philadelphia, and I remembered hearing gunshots at night.
  6. When I was describing the gene gun to my family, they originally thought it was a gun that I pointed at plants like a pistol or a Magnum (James Bond style). Even though there are some handheld gene guns that to faintly resemble the real thing, the gene guns I was referring to are the ones with the gun mounted inside a box, less exciting, but still awesome nonetheless. Then I seen that people at my job made an inside joke of this confusion and posted “shooting gallery” by the gene guns.

    Left – handheld gene gun (which looks like a laser gun if anything) Right – static gene gun with gun mounted in position pointing downward (at least that’s the hope). http://www.bio-rad.com/webroot/web/images/lsr/products/gene_transfer_rnai/category_feature/global/lsr_gt_sub_biolistic_new.jpg

  7. This saying is actually referring to latex gloves, but it reminded me so much of my brother who is infamous for turning a harmless conversation into adulterated chat. I personally use nitrile gloves as the latex gloves sometimes leaves a powdery residue after use, but to each his or her own.
  8. As delicious as a western sandwich sounds (I’m envisioning barbecued meat and cheese deliciousness) I am not actually referring to a sandwich you can eat. Rather, I am referring to the sandwich made for protein immunoblots, also known as Westerns. The sandwich is prepared as follows: mesh holder, blotting paper, completed protein gel, nitrocellulose membrane, blotting paper. mesh holder and it is usually kept in position in a sandwich holder in the correct orientation, bon apétit!

    Western Blot Setup (that’s one fancy sandwich!) – http://www.leinco.com/includes/templates/LeincoCustom/images/WesternBlotSetup.gif

  9. Ok, that just sounds evil. I ran quite a few kill curves with bacteria and plants to test the cytotoxic chemical selection response in nontransgenic or wild type plants and genetically modified plants with putative (or generally assumed) resistance to that particular chemical selection, and I will say that my actions are just! In other words, if it’s to hot, get out of the kitchen.
  10. This saying is actually a followup to saying #5 and my childhood experience in Philadelphia. I faintly remember there being a lot of corner liquor stores there, and thus this saying came into existence.

If I think of any more awkward sayings, I will be sure to share. Do you have any awkward sayings to share, feel free to comment below! That’s all for now, take care!

P&S

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