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Everything posted by sophster

  1. My old chemistry teacher at college told us a really naff way to remember the positive charge of a cation with a really lame pun, cations are pussitive* Remembering that makes it easy to remember that cations go to the cathode which obviously can't be positive as well so it must be negative and then anions and anodes are the opposite. * sorry about the spelling, it edits the whole thing if I spell it with a y instead of an i!
  2. I think one of the issues with communicating science to the layperson is they often have in their head that science is dull/boring so they are often inclined to ignore the science pages in the newspaper or science documentary on TV. Another problem is that as many people don't understand any scientific concepts they aren't equipped to understand any scientific contraversies that they might come across in the main news headlines and will generally go with the overhyped scare story rather than being able to come to their own conclusions about the research (the MMR scandal in the UK is a prime example). This tends to lead to a serious mistrust of science and scientists which makes them even more inclined to avoid understanding science properly for themselves.
  3. What level paper will you be doing in the exam Cloud as you tend to need different pass marks depending on the hardness of the exam 80% doesn't sound right for a higher level paper but might be necessary if you do an intermediate paper which has less hard questions on. Also are you sure they are actually out of 100? I did edexcel (I think) GCSE maths last year and I only needed about 40% or something stupid in the higher paper and the marks were out of 160 rather than 100. Good luck with your exams and just try and concentrate on learning and revising as much as possible rather than flapping about how many questions you need to answer correctly.
  4. I don't think much UK water is flouridated. Health food shops usually sell non-fluoridated toothpastes and remember that if it's only 1 wee baby tooth you will only need a teeny-weeny amount of toothpaste. More important is to keep away from sugary (or even toothkind drinks) but I guess you're sensible enough to know that anyway
  5. I really need to get this finished up really properly asap as I start a post doc job in just over a week. Eeeeek.
  6. I'm becoming more of a science geek every day. i've even got to the point of going out of the house without brushing my hair, wearing old woman straight leg trousers and finding random stains on my clothes! Seeing as I have an academic job interview tomorrow morning I think I might need to conjure up a more convincing argument
  7. This is a really interesting paper on the use of bacteria specific tumour targeting and killing http://www.pnas.org/cgi/content/full/98/26/15155 The use of bacteria for targeting to large, inacessible, necrotic tumours is really interesting.
  8. Good luck with starting your PhD Dak. After my experiences I can't say I'd ever recommend one. Are you staying at your current place and a familiar supervisor and lab or are you off to pastures new. I suppose the one thing I like about writing my thesis rather than writing a research paper is that I get to present all my hard collected data, rather than just a few salient points. And I get to spread them out into the most clear representations and all in glorious technicolour. I hate the way journals sting you for colour plates in papers. I'm a really visual person and hate seeing loads of scrunched up little graphs and photos in black and white rather than distinctive colours.
  9. Benevolent reviewers. I wish. My internal examiner has a reputation for being a total meanie and making people cry in their viva . Also I've found that I've got to cover so much more background theory in this thesis than I would in a paper (mostly because I'm technically in the biology faculty and all the experimental theory is hard chemistry and physics - which I'm struggling to teach myself and regurgitate in a semi-understandable fashion ).
  10. That sounds really cool. Shame you haven't been able to do any practical for your project, the doing part of science is always my favourite bit. What university are you at, if you don't mind me asking.
  11. I see. So are you thinking of it as a sort of gene therapy type of treatment where you would deliver the gene for the restriction enzyme to the cells of the immune system (I never did much immunology during my degree or get to grips with the immune system, I got distracted by more biophysical topics). Or could you deliver the enzyme directly to the HIV infected cells, possibly by tagging the enzyme to one of the receptors found on the HIV surface so you have a therapy similar to ADEPT (antibody directed enzyme prodrug therapy - IIRC this actually works fairly well and is in clinical trials for treating certain types of cancer)
  12. Has it been a practical dissertation or just a literature review Dak? Sounds interesting though. My PhD has been using an electrochemical method to characterise non-labeled biological affinity interactions (mostly an antibody-antigen interaction) at phospholipid surfaces. It's totally not what I set out to do at the start (I was meant to be using phage display to make novel antibodies) but it's been pretty interesting (and way too much hard work!)
  13. I ended up becoming an Evertonian as it was a choice between that or becoming a total football widow (FWIW my boyfriend became an Evertonian as he "liked the colour of their shirts!" but has stuck through them through limited sucess and many more relegation battles). My family now find it really funny to send me all sorts of naff Everton merchandise to decorate myself and my flat
  14. What's the dissertation on? Maybe we can help? My BSc dissertation was a nightmare as I got labyrinthitis (a horrid ear/balance infection) the week before it was due in. I got an extension but it wasn't much help as I was also meant to be revising for finals. Argh - the stress.
  15. Everyone know's there's only one decent merseyside team to support EVERTON
  16. Anyone around here currently doing a PhD. I'm finally at the writing up stage (yeah yeah I know I should have been doing it as I was going along ). Where is everyone else at, what's your topic of research?
  17. It depends really. I'm a total maths dunce but I find that I generally just learn the specific maths I need for the topic, rather than improving my overall standard of maths. It certainly doesn't hurt to keep on trying to improve your maths skills (although easier said than done ) Ha ha, that's so true. I did a biochem degree because, like I said, I'm a dunce at maths. Unfortunately things have gone a bit wrong and I'm suffering the horrors of writing up a chemistry PhD thesis which involves a fair bit of mentalist maths (well imaginary numbers and vectors)
  18. The best electrochemistry text (mostly theory but with a nice chapter on instrumentation and some stuff on electrochemical spectroscopy) is Electrochemical Methods by Bard and Faulkner. This link has handy links and summaries for various electrochemical stuff including comments about a range of electrochemistry related textbooks http://www.consultrsr.com/index.htm
  19. Personally I would recommend New Scientist, it covers lots of different topics and ideas and is well written for the non expert to understand. Also these days it's quite easy to check the internet for the original story (NS often picks up lots of stories from Nature news and other academic journals).
  20. I deal with the boring bits by thinking about just how exciting and important the result will be at the end if the experiment really works. The sort of stuff I do takes a really long time to set up before being able to generate any results so it's always worth being totally meticulous in my preparation. Last thing I want to do is get everything sorted and then find out one of the components is broken/dirty/lost/run out and not replaced so being careful and accurate feels more like a time saving tip than anything. If I get really down about stuff there are also my fantastic colleagues and we all go down the pub, have a moan, get it off our chests and start again.
  21. I started off with an interest in gentics but found that was really dull (to me at least) during the first term of my degree and got well into biochemistry. An MRes got me more into the biophysics side of things and a brief stint in a cancer research lab put me off pharmacology and biomedical research and I ended up randomly, in a lab doing biosensor research and I've now got sucked into the world of electrochemistry and interfacial/surface analysis science. I think as long as you are always interested in new stuff you can never really say "I want to be x, y, or z" I think what really interests me these days is finding new ways to find stuff out and development of new technologies in science.
  22. How much choice do you get in choosing your non-science courses? I think it's great you get the chance to cover so many different areas during your degree but also appreciate how frustrating it can be if you only really, really, really want to learn about certain limited, narrow or specific topics. Could you maybe do more foreign language classes which would tie in brilliantly with science and allow you to follow your science career in a choice of different institutes and countries. And if you want to know how to screw the system you're better off taking accountancy, economics and business type modules
  23. Hi I'm sophster and am in the final, super tedious stages of writing up my PhD thesis. Somehow I have managed to go from being a traditional biochemist and molecular biologist to getting sucked into the weird and sometimes wonderful world of electrochemistry and physical chemistry.
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