depressed grad students

April 22, 2007 at 10:05 pm | | blogs, grad life

Hmmm. A few depressed grad students out there. Kyle feels in a funk. Excimer is bummed about an NSF rejection, and most of us know that pain. Excimer also thinks April is the most depressing month. Maybe. Propter Doc gives some advice to us all.

I’ve been feeling in a funk for the last week at least. Nothing in particular is wrong, just a lot to do and I don’t end up feeling productive at the end of the day. But it feels nice to hear that others are in the same mood. So y’all keep your chins up!

aqueous gel sample prep

April 18, 2007 at 4:46 pm | | everyday science, science community

Does anyone have any experience making samples (preferably thin-film, ~100 nm) using agarose, gelatin, or some other transparent aqueous gel/biopolymer? For my poly(methyl methacrylate) samples, I spin-coat at 2500 RPM for 30 s and get a ~30-nm film. I can experiment with conditions, but I thought I’d ask first.

I’m trying to measure fluorescence from a relatively concentrated sample (~10-6 M fluorophore in biogel) on a glass coverslip using epi-illumination.

If I get any answers, I’ll let you know here.


April 13, 2007 at 3:22 pm | | news

This isn’t chemistry, but isn’t this pattern at the pole of saturn wicked cool?


Watch the movie by clicking the image above. The source is NASA. We’re all going to die.

NoChromix Volcano

April 11, 2007 at 8:47 am | | cool results, everyday science

A new twist on an old favourite. To make the NoChromix volcano, add one package of NoChromix® to your favourite H2SO4 and stir. Insert a cherished piece of glassware contaminated with whatever the hell pissed off the bath, slam the sash, and enjoy!


(I know what you’re thinking, but I scrubbed the hell out of those filters, rinsed them with nitric, then triple rinsed them with H2O before putting them in the bath).

blog roundup for march/april

April 10, 2007 at 7:59 pm | | blogs, news

So I haven’t been perfect at this blog-roundup thing, but here’s another:

Until next time, enjoy the other blogs!


April 9, 2007 at 5:11 pm | | blogs, news, open thread

I just realized that we all missed this blog’s birthday: March 23, 2007. We’re over a year old! Any suggestions of what to change for the coming year (if we make it that long)? I was thinking of starting an Ask EDS category, where people can ask us p-chem or how-the-world-works questions and we can try to answer them. Maybe…

caterpillars invade stanford

April 3, 2007 at 1:03 pm | | grad life

Caterpillars have infiltrated the Stanford campus. Hairy little guys are everywhere. They were around last year, but there are many many more this spring. I’m a big fan of nature, but this is some perversion of nature; an itchy, crawly, icky perversion.

They come repelling down from the trees and buildings and then crawl to the places that we want to walk. The doors to my building, for instance:


Or all over the picnic tables. They were completely covered like this corner before the sun moved (I think they like the shade):


For a little while, I thought that it was a ploy of the professors to get students to spend more time in lab, because being outside is not very pleasant. But the school/department has decided to hire someone to spray them off the buildings with water. Here’s an except of an email from our indespensable (seriously) Facilities Manager:


After prolonged negotiation with Stanford authorities, the oak moth infestation loses to chemistry. Tomorrow morning, the infestation of oak moths will be attacked. The buildings will be power washed to remove the bugs and the bugs will be sprayed once on the ground with chemicals rendering them inert. The oak trees and grounds will be treated on Saturday.

Better living through chemistry–

The Managment

Hopefully we’ll be able to go back outside soon.

any matlab gurus out there???

April 2, 2007 at 9:44 am | | everyday science, help me, software

I need some help with my Matlab m-file. Any geniuses know how to save a figure without the border?



  • The m-file produces an array of numbers: columns indicate the x- and rows the y-position of a pixel of intensity denoted by the number’s value
  • I make a figure and use the command pcolor
  • I turn the axis off
  • I save using the saveas command

Basically, I want the pcolor figure alone so I can import it into a different program and click on the image to move a stage to that location. Having a border means the stage will move to the wrong place. (I know this is a clunky solution to a scanning-stage program. Shut up. Stop making fun of me.)

Any thoughts? I’ve found that imwrite saves only the image array, but I don’t know how to use pcolor or shading 'interp' with imwrite.

To encourage random people to help me with my research, I’ll send an EDS magnet to the first person who tells me how to do this correctly—or at least points me in the right direction. I’ll update y’all as soon as I know.

[Update: Here’s a good image I created. See comments below.


I know, it’s flipped. But I can easily deal with that.

We have a winner, but I might send more magnets for more elegant solutions.]

Powered by WordPress, Theme Based on "Pool" by Borja Fernandez
Entries and comments feeds. Valid XHTML and CSS.