Schlenk Line in Development

This is my Schlenk line; there are many like it, but this one is mine. The double-manifold design allows my students and me to expose samples to either vacuum or inert gas (argon, in this case.) Every line has little tweaks and customizations made by the scientist using it, and is thus inevitably a work-in-progress. This particular line very much needs a full-time vacuum gauge as its next addition.

Schlenk Line in Development

End of 2018 (Recalling the Lab)

Professionally, 2018 was a good year: my sabbatical work was published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry C. That came from a long time writing and a long time in this lab.

Testing Facility

Berkeley Lab’s Frei Group was kind enough to share their space with me, and I could not have done that work without this high vacuum line. I’ve always loved the way understanding the components of a system can take a complicated image like this one and break it into understandable parts. This image, in particular, gets less odd after the realization that this is two lines, mounted back-to-back, in the same Unistrut frame.

High Vacuum Line

Self-Portraits of a Sabbaticaler

I’m interested in how scientists are depicted in media. They seem to always be in one of two modes. Either smiling at the desk with a screen and board filled with data/equations:

Self-Portrait at Berkeley Lab

Or in the lab, with fancy apparatus and appropriate PPE. This may be real evidence of a sort of dichotomy in the lives of many working scientific professionals: some of the time is spent at a desk, doing the sort of email-answering/paperwork-submitting tasks that are common to many fields, but the rest of the time is spent in a more technical setting. I’d really like to see a broader view of how scientists spend their time. Could the whole breadth of the approach be captured in a single image, like some elaborate Baroque painting?