[FUN] Dumbest lab experience?

Johns053 at mc.duke.edu Johns053 at mc.duke.edu
Thu Dec 21 10:20:53 EST 2000

On my first day in the lab as a graduate student, my advisor gave me a list of
reagents to prepare for TCA precipitations.  One of the reagents was salmon
sperm DNA.  I located the bottle in the fridge and went to weigh it out.  After
peering and poking around inside the bottle, I finally went up to my advisor and
told him there was no DNA left, that there was only packing material in the

A couple of contamination stories:  A fellow graduate student once end-labeled
the building.  A post-doc was having trouble generating a reproducible tryptic
fingerprint of a protein.  Someone in the lab finally realized that he always
had five spots and that the pattern was remarkably similar to that generated by
one hand's worth of digits.  Both of these won the annual award given out by my
graduate department for "blooper biochemistry."

Finally, I had a graduate student who was told to neutralize his tissue culture
medium with sodium bicarbonate.  Later in the day, I saw him scooping dry sodium
bicarbonate directly from the bottle to the medium.


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