Sexy science (or, not)

After hitting on the topic of sexy scientists earlier in the week, this one is kind of the flip side. I probably don't need to tell this audience that a lot of biology ain't exactly glamorous. Sure, there are biologists out there who never have to get their hands dirty, but many of us routinely grow up liters of stinky bacteria, or execute mice or other animals (my own gradute work, for example, involved lots of "spleen homogenization"), or monitor roadkill. Another common project is investigating feces, which can tell us all kinds of wonderous things. So, earlier this week that's what I spent most of the day doing, with the help of a MPH student in our program who also happens to be a large animal veterinarian:

I dealt more with the little ones; he and the farm owner swabbed the older cows. My lab is now very, very stinky. The best part? I had to run to the store after I picked up the kids later that afternoon (and before taking a shower). My daughter told one of the employees there: "my mom smells like a cow." Ah, the joys of parenthood...

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Does homogenising kilos of maggots - after lovingly washing them clean - count as the "flip side"? Probably the worst bit is that I can no longer look at a Waring blender in a café without temporarily seeing those maggots.

But the smell wasn't (quite) as bad as I thought. Another advantage of working in the cold room...

Unnnh... I may be a little out of my field here Tara, but I think the nose is at the other end... unless, of course that swab is really long...

By Jack Bunce (not verified) on 18 Jul 2008 #permalink