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How nice is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

  1. Oct 9, 2008 #1
    How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    I go to a small school and I'm just curious as to how well equipped or nice everyone elses (academic) labs are, especially those of you that go to big top 10 schools. The labs at my school for the most part are relatively "old fashioned" and are usually established where ever there is room. For example, many have a lot of equipment from the 1970's and contain a lot of old projects from students who graduated and left many many years ago. Space is rather limited and of course, absolutely no windows. The only labs that have lots of space and that are well equipped are those that are well funded and backed by industrial contributions.

    Cluttered and outdated labs tend to drive me a little insane. I am used to working with new and advanced equipment in labs that are spacious, well maintained, and are specifically built for the research and development that is being conducted. I guess working in industrial labs has kind of spoiled me but the whole "equipment tossed in a closet" kind of lab really gets under my skin.
     
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  3. Oct 13, 2008 #2
    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    hey... well i'm from the philippines... we've got a lot of, equipments tossed in the closet kind of thing... we've got a lot of labs for physics in my university - photonics, plasma, semicon, etc... their actually kind of different in a lot of ways. some labs have a lot of modern equipment... but generally lacking with some interior decorating. i haven't been to industrial laboratories before...
     
  4. Oct 13, 2008 #3

    fluidistic

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    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    Hi,
    I study in Argentina in a little (by the number of pupils) faculty. Until last year the laboratories part (for undergrad people) were in the building next to my faculty : the faculty of chemistry. The room was old, dark but with windows on the back of the room. It wasn't motivating... I agree.
    While from this year they constructed a new part in my faculty and moved all the labs there. It makes quite a difference to me. Appart the fact that the entire room is new with a lot of big windows, the material remains the same. (Some instruments are about 15 years old, other's seems less older). I'm not accustomed to work with new equipment but the fact to change the environment of work makes a better mood (at least for me). And I have no idea about how advanced is the equipment of my faculty : I'm still in my first year.
    Thus the answer (in my opinion) to your question is a yes. The work space really matters and I'm sure that a new equipment too.
    The situation is a bit similar as reading a same book : one of 30, 40 years old and the other a new one... I don't say I won't read the old book, but if I've the choice I'd take the new one. (Because pages are white, the letters are generally easiest to read because it wasn't written by a typewriter but directly by a software in a computer).
     
  5. Oct 13, 2008 #4
    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    Ok, good. So its not just me that has to work in a dungeon. That makes me feel a little better. The chem department at my school has awesome labs with new equipment and all that stuff. I don't know why we get shafted when we actually bring in more money from local industry.
     
  6. Oct 13, 2008 #5

    atyy

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    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    All my best experiments were done with "borrowed" equipment. There's the amusing story of how the 21 cm line was discovered by Ewen and Purcell. Apparently Ewen had to use equipment from the undergraduate physics lab, which he carted to his lab every weekend. Then his experiment wouldn't work unless the heat was turned way up, and he had to make arrangements with the janitor to make that happen at the right times.
     
  7. Oct 15, 2008 #6
    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    work spaces really matter...
    some people get comfortable with cramped spaces... but having the laboratories regularly cleaned and stuff saves a lot of time to look for stuff. last time we spent 30 mins looking for methylyne... hahahah. we found out the next day that we didn't have supplies of alcohol anymore.
    clean organized spaces makes working a little bit more easier. working in old rooms is okay... it's more important to have clean and organized spaces. hmmm. i guess i'm a bit of a neat freak... and dangerous looking, disorganized wirings all over the place can turn-off prospective laboratory members and is surely a safety hazard.
     
  8. Oct 15, 2008 #7

    tmc

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    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    From my experience, most labs are like those you described. Physics labs tend to have that "it works, but barely" feeling to them (compared to, say, an engineering lab, which will be nice and tidy).
     
  9. Oct 16, 2008 #8
    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    This is the way that most of the ME labs are at my school. The SEs, IEs, EEs, and CEs, all have pretty nice spacious labs with modern equipment. The robotics labs have FULL size industrial robots, the kind that can move entire cars. But for some reason us MEs always get shafted. We get the oldest and crappiest building with the oldest and crappiest equipment even though we are one of the larger departments.

    I should just get used to it I guess. It seems to be the way of the world.
     
  10. Oct 16, 2008 #9
    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    I've also noticed the physics labs at my university are not as good as those of other departments; engineering, chemistry, but apparently the bio labs are not great either, so I guess science gets the short end.
     
  11. Nov 27, 2008 #10
    Re: How "nice" is your lab? Does nice equipment and work space really matter?

    in our university physics gets a lot of funding compared to other institutes... i think...
     
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