“That was a convenient Power outage”

Said no one ever!

In the last 48 hours, there has been a power outage in my research facility resulting in no lab access. At first, to a student that sounds exciting: a day off from science at the lab bench! But in reality, a power outage that could last for two weeks is one of the last things you would possibly ever want – it has created research chaos!

It becomes a situation of: Who goes where? What lab supplies do we take with us? Will our experimental samples be viable? Do we create a lab elsewhere?

No lab = no experiments = no data! As if grad life wasn’t depressing enough already.

This is affecting everyone; all scientists are losing time and money that could have been spent on research, especially when their graduate students could have been producing results. I have lost two weeks of data – a PhD nightmare!

I know many colleagues were scrambling to relocate their lab to continue their ongoing fundamental research, at a cost of being up till 5 in the morning! Luckily, they found space to create their own pseudolab to continue pumping out data.

However, I was not as lucky and my science is somewhat at a standstill. But, there is a silver lining: students are known for being able to quickly adapt to different situations (at least I think so. Being an optimistic, I am trying to take this as a blessing in disguise. Although I cannot add new data to my research poster that I will be presenting at an international scientific conference in the upcoming weeks (Experimental Biology 2016), which is a quite a bummer for a nerd like myself, I get to catch up on some administrative tasks!

In scientific research, it is common to back log your administrative tasks and save it for a rainy day– but I guess mine was saved for a no power day! I have more time to focus on tweeking my research poster (which includes learning how to use Photoshop to improve my scientific models), writing a literature review in hopes that it will get published (because publications are the currency of research: cha-ching!), and catching up on my data analysis! Last but not least, it also gives me a bit more time to focus on my blogs at Re-Spect Science – stay tuned for next week’s article on E-cigarettes or vaping!

Admist all the chaos, I am doing my best to see this as a glass half-full kind of scenario. I know our facility team is working hard to get our labs back in action. Have you ever been in a situation where you had no access to your lab or work place due to unforeseen circumstances? Share your story and tips on how you turned it into a positive experience. Now time to end off with a special haiku:

No power in lab

No pipetting or samples

Instead you just write.


-Wajihah Mughal