Rules of the Lab
Before you criticize a man, walk a mile in his shoes.
That way, if he gets angry, he's a mile away and barefoot.
- Remember, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the
- It takes alkynes to make a world.
- A couple months in the laboratory can frequently save a couple of
hours in the library.
When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
Experiments must be reproducible; they should fail the same way each
Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
A record of data is essential; it shows that you're working.
To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start at the answer
and derive the question.
If that doesn't work, start at both ends and try to find a common
In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
Do not believe in miracles -- rely on them.
Team work is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.
All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
** A brief guide to scientific literature **
It has long been known == I havent bothered to check the references.
It is known == I believe.
It is believed == I think.
It is generally believed == My colleagues and I think.
There has been some discussion == Nobody agrees with me.
It can be shown == Take my word for it.
It is proven == It agrees with something mathematical.
Of great theoretical importance == I find it interesting.
Of great practical importance == This justifies my employment.
Of great historical importance == This ought to make me famous.
Some samples were chosen for study == The others didn't make sense.
Typical results are shown == The best results are shown.
Correct within order of magnitude == Wrong.
The values were obtained empirically == The values were obtained by
The results are inconclusive == The results seem to disprove my
Additional work is required == Someone else can work on the details.
It might be argued that == I have a good answer to this objection.
The investigations proved rewarding == My grant has been renewed.
Synthesized according to standard protocols == Purchased.
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Last updated: December 13, 1996
Rich Chin, All rights reserved