Less is More
Everybody in the Genetics Department gets effectively the same 1000 sq ft lab to start with. They are functional but charmless - that is, they are functional if you are cloning and doing a lot of bench-top science. For bioinformatics, animal rearing, etc. the labs are less well planned, and if you actually want to talk to people in the lab without ducking under and around the shelving it gets awkward. So my renovations, maintaining all the potential for using the lab benches as they have traditionally been used but opening space up for our computational environment, have begun. We are capping all the water/gas/vacuum on this bench, having new outlets installed, and eliminating the sinks. Everybody is excited about it, and I think it will do a lot for the overall feel and ethos of the lab. We don’t do traditional bench-top genetics. I figure I’ll be in this lab for another 20 years, perhaps, so I may as well like it.
(wrong picture somehow ended up here previously)
I am adding this update a couple weeks later because it is the same basic topic. I love that my lab is not merely/primarily a place of getting things done, but a place of learning and interaction. Inspired by what I’ve heard of the Santa Fe Institute, I encouraged my folks a few years back to use their windows to best advantage. We play music, we stop to talk about ideas, we have a constant supply of scrap paper to explain something to another colleague or student. That’s the way it is supposed to be. I can’t take any individual science project going on in my lab too seriously: they are barnacles, they are mussels, and so on. But the overall pursuit of understanding is a pretty beautiful thing some days.