By Jesse Givens-Lamb
Not a word that I would ever anticipated myself ever really getting involved with.
Well, to be honest I used to be interested in medical research but then realised I wasn’t as passionate about the medical field as I thought I was … and after only a brief period of time I understood (to some degree) what “actual” research meant.
Research was not for me.
But what if it was about something I was fascinated by? What if it was really about trying new things, problem solving? What if it involved churning those cogs in order to draw meaningful conclusions around data I had collected? Well, I guess I could get around that.
My mind had been changed.
I was lucky enough at the end of last semester to be hand-picked (okay, I might have begged a little) by Rico Tabor to undergo research with him as part of the CHM3990 project. I had barely started (and literally haven’t started any of the experimentation as of this date) but I am excited. Why? Because I will be working on something that interests me. I’m well aware that it might not interest everyone! But I’m excited to be looking at this neat-o fluid that lights up when you smack it. In essence, that’s what I will be working on over the course of the next twelve weeks. Yes … it gets a little more complicated than that, but in essence, that’s what I will be doing.
My official project title is wordy to say the least, but what it boils down to is understanding how fluids interact with submerged, moving droplets. We will look at their wake, how the droplet deforms and all of this without intruding on the fluid. Most techniques involve adding a dye of some sort and monitoring the movement of the day. This can be an issue in two ways; it means the sample is impure and it is very challenging to monitor small (micron level) droplets. I’ll be exploring a technique which utilises cellulose based particles that “should” (I really hope they do) produce light when exposed to a force i.e. when a droplet rolls on by!
I don’t know whether my passion and excitement for research will extend beyond this semester, but what I do know is I’m going to give it my best shot and make use of what is a fantastic opportunity; to explore the world of research, learn something new, and most importantly have some fun!