Holidays are for the good of science


Science demands occasional indulgence, especially in the holiday season.  

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the lab, not a creature was stirring…. except for the odd scientist thinking they can just get ‘one more’ experiment running before the holidays.

In fact the only thing in the lab that even hints at the proximity of Christmas is the gradual accumulation of lab-constructed decorations on the Laboratree. There’s still the scurry of scientists and the whir of instruments in action that gives no indication of the impending holiday.


xmas tree 2014b

Our Laboratree. Like a chemistree but with more yeast-culture ornaments

The lead up to holiday season has been spent planning and executing perfectly timed experiments and constantly calculating how long things should take so I can get the maximum number of results before the break.


But then I think that by coming in just one day between Christmas and New Year I’ll be able to get more experiments running and have the data ready to analyse upon my return! Or maybe I could just work through that time and get so much done because it will be so quiet…

Hang on a minute. Contrary to my presumptions, the world will not in fact end if I don’t get those experiments running during the break.

And, based on the irrefutable truth that experiments will not work on Friday afternoons nor Monday mornings, it follows that experiments also won’t work when started in the stress-out, manic mindset that  is pre-holiday existence.

The experiments are likely to be better planned and conducted after I’ve had a few days off and come back to work in the New Year refreshed and ready, with a relaxed, focused mind. Particularly if I’ve eaten chocolate in that time.

Research shows that chocolate makes us happy, happy people are relaxed and relaxed people don’t make so many stupid mistakes in the lab. The best thing we can possibly do for our projects at this time of year is therefore to take some time off and indulge just a little.

That’s what I’ll keep telling myself anyway.


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