Being a scientist isn’t just about doing experiments, so neither are we. This is where we make breakthroughs beyond the bench for scientists.

Identity Theft. Did Someone Just Clone Me?

Identity theftI was driving home from lab one evening when my phone rang.  I normally don’t pick it up when driving, but I was expecting a call, so I answered:

Me: Hello?
Guy: This is Sergeant [Jones] of the SFPD, can I speak to Alan Marnett?
Me: (Quickly pulling car over and beginning to sweat) Speaking.
Sergeant: Mr. Marnett, SWAT just busted a house in south San Francisco.  On the kitchen table was a mound of cocaine and credit cards with your name on them – can you explain this?

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Creating the Soundtrack of Your Science

Creating the Soundtrack of Your ScienceMusic plays an essential role in movies, theater and yes- even protocols! (See this week’s Technique of the Week)  However, unless you’ve got a rich uncle with connections in the music industry, you may want to forget about adding “Stairway to Heaven” to your “How to pH a solution” video…

The issue is the copyright.  It’s understandable why artists don’t want people using their videos without asking.  It would be like showing up to a conference and seeing someone presenting one of your old posters.  So are you left to bust out a kazoo and start making your own tracks?

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Thank You!

Thank you

It’s the end of our first full week and we at BenchFly would like to take a minute to say:

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The Chemistry of Skunky Beer

Beer chemistryPepé le Pew: funny.  Beer: delicious.

Pepé le Pew in your booze? Not funny OR delicious.

Occasionally, you may hear friends complain of “skunky beer” – but what does that mean?  Is it just slang for a terrible brew?  Did they just insult your drink?  Actually, there is some truth to the term, and a little bit of chemistry helps make sense of it.

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Molecular Gastronomy: Experiments You Can Eat

molecular gastronomyThe last thing most of us think about when pulling a tube out of the centrifuge or taking a vial out of the desiccators is eating it.  Unless you’re willing to grow a third arm out of your back, consuming your experiments should never cross your mind…

Or should it…

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Win a Flip Camera!

gold-medalLike when you pick a single colony from a bacterial plate and it sequences correctly…YOU’RE A WINNER!!

Actually, you haven’t won anything yet.

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Our Mission

Who am I?our-mission

I’m a third generation chemist, following in the footsteps of my father and grandfather.  Some of my earliest memories include weekend trips into the lab with my dad.  Although they were by no means every week, as I grew older the trips were frequent enough to instill in me a genuine respect for research and it’s role in society.

As an undergraduate, I joined an organic chemistry lab and quickly found out that the NMR was not, in fact, a huge cotton-candy machine, as I had imagined when I was a kid.

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The Image of the Scientist

The Image of the ScientistLeaving my postdoc also meant leaving my health insurance.  In Massachusetts, where health insurance is required, that means you’d better find some more, quickly.  So I got on the phone and made a few calls.  This is the exact conversation I had with an insurance salesman, no kidding:

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Life, Laberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

The problem: Life, Laberty and the Pursuit of Happiness

You have recently married that special someone and you want to spend every waking moment with them.  Or you’ve decided this is the year you’re finally going to run that marathon.  Whether it’s a human, a hobby or an alternative passion besides science (I know it’s hard to believe), finding time to balance your lab life and social life can be hard.

The solution:

No need to worry, follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to that magical place they call…”balance”.  Your social life can science life can finally stop bickering.

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Why Did You Become a Scientist?

Why Did You Become a Scientist?

Update: To follow-up on the recent article by Prof. Teaster Baird, Jr. titled “Why Did I Become a Scientist?” we wanted to revisit an earlier post to ask ourselves this exact question.  What was it that made you become a scientist?

It’s easy to understand why kids grow up and want to be a movie star, athlete or a rock star. The reported fame, fortune and excitement associated with these careers are hard to avoid these days and they even have “ordinary” people scrambling for a piece at any cost (see the Jon and Kate circus).  However, excluding a few exceptions like CSI, “the scientist” is rarely celebrated in the mainstream media, perhaps due to the perceived lack of fame, fortune or excitement associated with the career.

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