Weekly news: a muppet of beakers and a skittle of Erlenmeyers

NEVER let it be said that we don’t like to have a little fun from time to time, here at the LabHomepage. This week we found ourselves hijacking our own Twitter feed when a casual remark about collective nouns took on a life of its own, spawning a new hashtag (#labkitcollectivenouns) and generating responses from across the globe.

It started innocently enough with a remark about whether a collection of mass spectrometers would be called a mass, or a momentum (this being equal to a mass multiplied by a vector), which was itself sparked by the announcement (No 3 in this week’s top ten) of a couple of new instruments by AB Sciex.

What followed was not quite a twitterstorm, but did provide some good clean geeky fun. Contributions flowed in, with collective nouns suggested for everything from antibodies to white coats. They’re not all hilarious, but some will make you smile.

And, as fast as it began, it was over. The ephemeral nature of social media – Twitter in particular – meant that the moths soon began orbiting a different flame. Happily we’ve preserved the complete collection of collective nouns for items of laboratory kit, and made it available for all to see (No 4 on our list).

Our favourites? We do like the idea of a skittle of Erlenmeyers, and even found a picture of this to use on our Facebook page, and a Parthenon of chromatography columns is clever. But we think the best suggestions so far are the peep of pipettes and the muppet of beakers.

I hope you find the LabHomepage website, and this weekly newsletter, useful. Comments and feedback are always welcome: thesecretlabproject@gmail.com. Please help us build our circulation base by forwarding this to any friends that might like it, and suggest they subscribe at http://eepurl.com/itOV2

best wishes

Russ Swan

editor, LabHomepage.com


This week’s top stories: 25 May 2012


1. LED microscope suits biomedical applications

A CONSTANT colour temperature without heat build-up is the main advantage of the LED illumination system used on the new Leica DM4000 B microscope, says…



2. Invisibility cloak promises spectroscopy on a chip (video)

WHILE the general media are agitated by the far-fetched possibilities of Harry Potteresque camouflage, we’re much more excited about the prospects for massively…



3. A mass of mass spectrometers

WE’RE not quite sure what the collective noun is for mass spectrometers, but we’re pretty sure they could use one down at AB Sciex’s headquarters. Coming hard on the heels…



4. Lab kit collective nouns: the definitive collection

IT STARTED with an idle thought about what might be an appropriate collective noun for mass spectrometers, sparked by the announcement of another two new models from…



5. Specimen cleaning in electron microscopy

A VITAL step in sample preparation before analysis by electron microscopy is the cleaning stage, in which all contaminants must be removed from objects under study. One common….



6. How to go fishing in the deep end of the gene pool

AN APPLICATION note now available from Oxford Gene Technology provides scientists with valuable guidance on the use of targeted probes to improve data quality in next-generation…



7. Assay plates have glass bottoms for better imaging

PORVAIR’s Krystal assay plates have an upper part made of polystyrene and a base plate made of a sheet of borosilicate glass, and says the company are proven to give higher…



8. Professional recognition for lab technicians

THE SOCIETY of Biology in the UK says that laboratory and science technicians will increase their employability and have a clearer route to career development through…



9. New wavelengths for plug-and-play lasers

THE OBIS range of compact laser modules from Coherent has been extended with the addition of devices with outputs at 514nm and 552nm. Both deliver laser output power…



10. Multiple sample vials in 96-well microplate footprint

COMBINING the benefits of individual sample vials with the handling advantages of the standard 96-well microplate format, JG Finneran’s new Snap Seal Vials and Snap Top Caps may appeal…


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