I suspect having a cold isn't fun whatever job you're in. Coughing and sneezing in public tend to make people look at you oddly, and try to discreetly shuffle away in case they catch it. In a lab however, it's a whole new level of awkward because everyone around you is working with little eppindorfs and petri-dishes and trying their hardest not to get them contaminated.
Contamination is the One Big Evil in microbial biochemistry. And I've essentially turned into a walking contamination spray. I am already worrying for the fate of the plates I poured today, and it's only a matter of time before people start following me around with ethanol'd paper towels and disinfect everything I've touched.
I'm even starting to want to do it. Thankfully most of my work is done under a laminar hood, which is like a large box with a glass pane in the front which separates me from the plates and the bacteria. Which means that if I cough at the ceiling my plates should manage alright.
If they get contaminated I will scream. This is already the third time I've done this procedure. The first time the actual antibiotic we were using was contaminated, so we just grew nice little colonies of black mould. The second time I forgot to dilute the mixture down, so I was pipetting tiny, tiny amounts of liquid out and all the results were screwy. The problem is, is that the bacteria take five days to grow, which means I've already wasted two weeks and have no results.
And I'm ill. Meh. Welcome to science, two steps forward, six steps backward. :(
Narrow-minded, short-sighted university administrators
3 hours ago in The Phytophactor