Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Joys of Scientific Discovery

Man this little story was just too funny not to make a Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V blog post:

I hope that e-lab notebooks don't catch on, because they lose a lot of character when 'people are watching'. I remember doing in vivo recordings, sometimes for ~20 hours, in grad school. If the neurons were alive, I was recording. Things were pretty automated, so I would pass the time looking at the oscilloscope during stimulation trials while drinking Busch light. After about 10 beers one night, I finally realized what the neurons were doing and got a C/N/S paper out of it. I remember looking at my notes from that fateful night, scribbled with the drunken uncoordination that is only found on pub toilet walls: "THEY'RE FUCKING OSCILLATING!!!!" I wrote this about 10 times as I went back and looked at the sweeps from previous experiments that I had pasted into my notebook. Then, I perfused the animal, drank 2 more beers, had a smoke in our fume hood, and passed out. I was awoken by our TurboTech at 7 am.

I still have the notebook, complete with beer stains and coffee stains (and probably some drool). That's not something I'd be willing to live-blog, or even transfer onto the web, though. It could only be appreciated as a scratch-and-sniff YouTube video; or in my blurred memories of grad school.

This great anecdote courtesy of TreeFish, commenting in response to a post by PhysioProf on the idea of open digital lab books ("Science 2.0 Open Access Lab Notebooks" Is Completely Absurd) over at DrugMonkey.