Amidst all the incomprehensible resuts that I have been getting, there appeared a silverline in my research work - Prediction to the core.... I've been toiling all day long in my 'silence of the dead' Ujjala colored lab for the past 4 months and finally had a chance to test my research. I've had this training on this instrument called the atomic force microscopy (AFM) during my course work itself. But I had problems with it when I had my amateur training. I used it its fullest extent that it sparked on one instance and went dead for the rest of the past 2 months. Finally a ray of hope arrived from my guides mail stating 'Hi Hari, I've contacted Molecular Imprinting and they are sending an expert to train you. PS he is bringing the new heads'
Training as expected was defenitely from the eyes of an expert, but to say the least there were these new students who also desperately wanted to learn the technique. As expected the expert started from basics. Day one was a utter waste of time and energy from my side. Managed to gain some extra space at the end of the days session by coeding George the AFM Janitor to allow me use the machine at 11:00 pm. Thats right its 11 pm and not am. Had my samples ready. Scanned 3 of them till 1:00am. Saved the crappy images in my USB and went home.
The next day (infact I've slept at 2am so its the same day) went a lil late (by 10 mins) and my guide started to leave voice mails in my cell... And what did I miss, Nothing!!... This was worse than yesterday. Two of the new students sat in front of the machine like watch dogs and did experiments on blank samples.
I persuaded them to try my samples on the new setup. Guess what?? The machine crashed instantly.. The expert after 2 hours of his sweaty analysis found out that the guy sitting in front like the watch dog accidentally pulled the power cord for one of the electronics in use. Time was 12 noon. By american standards that's lunch time. But for me its an opportunity to test my sample. Kept it in and scanned. New and inconclusive results. But the images were artistic. If Picasso lived he would have bowed to my art for sure.
1pm new mode of AFM and not my kind of stuff. More for the harcore electronics ppl. Man I wonder how dry can their subjects be. The student was talking greek and latin even to the expert. He was very slithery. Everythin he did was at uncontrollable pace and dropped every damn thing that he had in his hand. Then the expert said something which really attracted me he said "The fastest way to do a thing is to do it slowly"..... How philosophical of him... By 3:30 I finally got a chance to do my very own expert supervised experiment. Did great guns in settin up the machine and making the tip to resonate properly. But the result I got was not that we've been expecting.
To make this blog short - "When I had the time there was no machine, When I had the machine I had no expert, When I had the expert I had no samples, When I had samples I had no proper operator, When I had an operator I got inconclusive results"
The one thing I learnt from this experience is 'Come on man, this is PhD, if u get results as expected at the right time then y do u want to do this for 5 yrs' Patience is a bitte plant but it has a sweet fruit...
Alas I am relived that I had learnt something out of nothing in my life....