A failed experiment is NOT indicative of your intelligence

12 09 2013

Or your ability to do science, or to graduate, or any other things. The only thing a failed experiment can tell you is that the experiment did not work.  An experiment not working is VERY different from an experiment not giving you the data you want. An experiment not working is an SDS-Page Gel not running for the 4th week in a row, all for different reasons.  The experiment not workings is not getting a signal on your membrane and you don’t know if its because the protein didn’t transfer, the antibody concentration is correct or the 2ndary is off.

Thats not entirely true. I know the protein transfer efficiency was enough to have protein1 detected. I know that 1 of the secondaries work fine. That is all I know. Oh that have 3 days of washing and probing, ponceaus S (1% w/v) picks up ZERO bands on the membrane.

So for all the newbie graduate students that started over the summer and the last couple weeks. The title was kinda for you. But mostly its the mantra I need to tell myself on an hourly basis as I struggle with biochemistry.

I will publish this damn story and I will graduate.

 

 

 

 

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4 responses

13 09 2013
Nicky

(Indictment) Feel free to delete comment once spelling is corrected!

13 09 2013
Nicky

Failed experiments suck. You can figure it out, and you WILL graduate!

15 09 2013
Amanda@LadyScientist

Amen. Sometimes things just don’t work, but that doesn’t mean you’re not intelligent. It will eventually all come together. As my grad PI said “If you only had to do it once, it’d just be called ‘search.'”

15 09 2013
melissawhayes

I hear ya! Nothing like getting spotty data for the first nine months of your postfoc because the calculation of virus/cell was off from the beginning #notmyfault. My message to you is that it still happens even after you’ve earned your degree. It’s all part of the game. Those that succeed can take the setbacks and failed experiments in stride, shake it off and move on. Good luck with your blots! Here is a link to my first big blunder as a post doc:
http://postdocexperience.scienceblog.com/2012/11/26/blunder/

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