Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Summer Undergraduate Student Far Too Excited About Running Columns

Chestnut Hill, MA

Boston College undergraduate student Timothy Warren is reportedly enthralled with performing repeated chemical separations employing flash chromatography.  Warren, an incoming senior at BC joined the Mulhall group, a research group specializing in small molecule synthesis, after completing his junior year.  Since he began work in June, Warren has been tasked with running columns all day, every day, a task of such tedium his fellow group members are incredulous with his continued cheery attitude.

"He comes into the lab every single day with this shit-eating grin on his face," stated Joyce Chang, a sixth-year graduate student and the most senior member of the group.  "It was kind of endearing the first week, but it's actually physically nauseating now."

"It's truly an incredible experience to be part of such an intelligent and inspiring group of people," Warren stated with almost sarcastic enthusiasm.  "Joyce has been an awesome teacher, and she never shies away from challenging me with more tasks!" he added with a sense of awe bordering on condescension.

In a separate interview, Chang admitted "I've just been giving him my first precursor in a twelve-step synthesis.  I need grams and grams of the stuff.  It's just a silylated phenol derivative, the starting materials are cheap, so I just toss him the crude reaction mixtures.  He runs the columns, and I could stream the World Cup matches."

"My first time I got about 30% yield, but I've been getting better!" said Warren with sickening excitement.  "Last time I ran the column I got around 75%," he said in reference to the silylation product, a chemical transformation which is typically nearly quantitative and trivial to separate.  At press, Warren had broken 90%, and was running down the fume hood bays high-fiving his fellow lab members.

1 comment:

  1. Lol. Definitely me as an undergrad. I never understood why all the grad students and postdocs in my lab were always asking with concerned faces "why are you working so hard??" that is until I went to grad school... Nowadays even first year enthusiasm is enough to turn my stomach.