Our new endeavor has been going for the past six months or so and a lot has changed from my old position. Different company. Different lab. Different projects. Lots of change.
Yet, some things stay the same. Molecular biology is still the same – just different arrangements of A, G, C, and T really. And running assays is more or less the same — add this to that, vary this other thing, see what happens. Certainly, technology has changed over the couple of decades I’ve been doing this science thing. The advent of the internet means no more hours in the science library. Miniaturization lets you use less stuff per experiment (saving money or letting you do more experiments) and of course, computational power and data storage capacity has increased by orders of magnitude.
But I realized the other day, that one computational aspect of my professional life hasn’t changed AT ALL since 1983. When I was a freshman in college, I needed a scientific calculator and so went off to Radio Shack (there were no Best Buys or Targets) and got the solar-powered calculator shown below.
Remarkably, this calculator has survived undergrad classes, and literally dozens of lab benches and desks throughout grad school, my post-doc and professional science career. At every change, it’s been packed into a box and unpacked in its new home. It’s had coffee and solvents (and probably worse) spilled on it, the keys are smudged, the spaces between them pretty grimy and the front scratched from countless drops and bangs. It’s older than some people that read this blog.
My cell phone seems to give out right after its contract is up, but this guy chugs on. :)