A MAD day

This is a quick one. The internet’s not working terribly reliably at home so, in case you missed it on Twitter, Facebook or Friendfeed, here is a short film about what myself and some of my group got up to last Saturday.
Hit it Van…

Thanks to GrrlScientist for already promoting it on her blog.
Update, 15:00, 3 June: And here, in a picture I snapped a few moments ago, are Rob, Amar and Eoin working hard on their electron density maps. Cool glasses, huh?
Graphics Dudes

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18 Responses to A MAD day

  1. vishal kalel says:

    after watching this video, I just strolled through your lab website..
    Very nice fusion of science with social lab life and well updated.
    I did feel one person in video, kind of from my homeland.. Amar Joshi, I figured out.!
    and one more thing, It seems you enjoy lot playing with crystals!

  2. Heather Etchevers says:

    I’m chuckling at the contrast between the precautions we take for liquid N2 and those in your lab.
    Seriously, though, a great glimpse into what’s done in another group, and how it’s done, and how people get turned on by their work. I really appreciated it! So much so that it would be super to do something similar in all our groups. How much pre-planning do you have to do? (Not to mention, how familiar with video editing software?)

  3. Stephen Curry says:

    Internet working, for now, so…
    Many thanks Vishal – I do make an effort to keep my work web-site up-to-date. I am very much helped in this by a Mac application called Coda”.
    By the way, although Amar’s family hail from India, he himself is from the Peterborough area (if I remember correctly)!
    @Heather – There was relatively little planning in this video (and I think it shows). But it was a quick an dirty experiment with my latest gadget, the cheap(ish) and cheerful Kodak Zi8, which records video straight onto a memory card. For convenience, the editing was done on iMovie (free if you buy a Mac), though the camera comes with software to allow you to edit on a PC (but am not sure how good that is).
    The great thing about the camera (recommended to me by Alom Shaha) is that it’s so light and easy to use and it plugs straight into your computer (USB connection built in). The lens and the audio are a bit limited, but the convenience compensates for that.

  4. vishal kalel says:

    I don’t have Apples. Windows here, so doors closed for coda..!

  5. Åsa Karlström says:

    Lovely Stephen! It’s so much fun to see what everyone’s lab life looks like. And I loved the _it’s very expensive_ comment.
    I must say that the huge tub of N2 made me laugh. (See, I can think of _that_ many things that can happen with me and loads of N2 😉 )
    Not to mention the small detail that this was a Saturday… is that the normal “storage day” or was it something that just happened this time?

  6. Stephen Curry says:

    Bad luck Vishal – looks like you live in a parallel universe where there is much gnashing of teeth…
    Åsa – the synchrotron was expensive to build and costs a lot to run so it is used 24/7. It just so happened that this time our beamtime fell on a Saturday. We were lucky to have snagged the day shift – there were a couple of other guys from Imperial who started their data collection at about 8 pm and would have worked through till dawn most likely.
    That’s the way it is with X-rays – they travel at the speed of light and have the temerity to expect everyone else to keep up!

  7. Robert Townley says:

    Stephen, great video, crystallography is pretty photogenic science. How did Amar’s stuff come out? The diffraction patterns in the video reminded me of Kil’s problems with crystal twinning and cryoprotection. He and Larry tried to solve the problem with high pressure freezing but in the end they gave up.
    Godspeed to you and your labmates.

  8. Stephen Curry says:

    Well spotted Rob – Amar’s diffraction patterns are a bit streaky and there’s a strong hint of pseudo-symmetry (very close to P212121 but actually P21), but we think they’re probably OK. Autosharp did a fine job of finding and refining the SeMet positions and we got a map that looks very interpretable. Buccaneer built just over 2 of the 4 molecules expected in the asymmetric unit (model looks v. good) but then seems to give up. We’re now looking to see how we can resolve that…
    Stay tuned!

  9. Matt Brown says:

    That’s a fun video. I’d make one of my place of work, but you probably wouldn’t want to watch footage of me typing away on a keyboard, only breaking to do the washing up or dust the book shelves.
    It’d be wonderful to see similar videos from the labs of other NN regulars (and even irregulars). We could perhaps screen then at “Science Online London”:http://www.scienceonlinelondon.org/

  10. Stephen Curry says:

    Cheers Matt. Well the great thing about the camera I used to made the video — a Kodak Zi8 (see my reply to Heather above) — is that it’s so portable and easy to use. I suspect/hope we’ll see a lot more of this. Would be a great idea to screen them at the conference to encourage others to have a go.
    P.S. Have just updated the post with a picture since all three students who were at the synchrotron are now busy in the graphics room, phasing and building…

  11. Nicolas Fanget says:

    Ha, so you do have glasses to do those! I only see the final product of those stereo images that we print, and checking them always gives me a headache (and crossed eyes). Do you just export them from the software you use? I much prefer a nice PDB code or a 3D model I can view in my browser instead…

  12. Stephen Curry says:

    There’s no substitute for hardware stereo if you are building into density. I appreciate the difficulty in seeing stereo unaided on the printed page (it took me quite a while to get the knack), so I try to make sure that I make good mono pictures for publications.
    Of course, once everyone has an ebook/ipad device that can display in 3D, the problem will be solved…! It is already possible to embed interactive 3D figures in pdfs.

  13. Åsa Karlström says:

    Stephen> ahh… shared equipment that is run by you and whome ever needs it. I see. Sounds like a good collaborative effort.
    As for the glasses, they are hilarious 🙂

  14. Stephen Curry says:

    Åsa – It is amazing really that they leave this millions of pounds of equipment in our charge but the system does work well. The data you get from a synchrotron is so much better than what you can get with a ‘home source’ (i.e. an X-ray generator in the lab).
    Plus, we had to use the synchrotron because the MAD (Multi-wavelength Anomalous Dispersion) experiment we were doing requires altering the X-ray wavelength and we can’t do that at home.

  15. Lou Woodley says:

    Sorry for being late to the party, but great video, Stephen. It’s always fascinating to see what other people get up to in their day job.
    As M@ mentioned, we were thinking of doing something similar here on Network by asking people to blog about a specific day in their (lab) life – this would work very nicely in video format too. If anyone has a preferred date for doing this, do let me know, otherwise we’ll just pick a random one in the coming months.

  16. Stephen Curry says:

    Thanks Lou.
    The idea of a ‘day in the life’ blog is a great one though if people are going to go down the video route, they should think ahead a bit about what to shoot and then edit, edit, edit to cut down the material to a manageable length.

  17. Austin Elliott says:

    We’ve done an irregular/recurring _Day/Week/Month in the Life…_ feature (printed word, not video) over at “_Physiology News_”:http://www.physoc.org/site/cms/contentChapterView.asp?chapter=151 (an example, though not research-related, is “here”:http://www.physoc.org/publications/pn/issuepdf/57/12-14.pdf). We’ve found that a certain “flexibility” over the precise period works best… mainly with the same point Stephen mentioned i.e. giving people leeway to edit out the event-free bits and generate something readable/non-dull.

  18. Lou Woodley says:

    Thanks Stephen, thanks Austin – good points that I’ll bear in mind when trying to set this up.

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