UCSB Science Line
Sponge Spicules Nerve Cells Galaxy Abalone Shell Nickel Succinate X-ray Lens Lupine
UCSB Science Line
How it Works
Ask a Question
Search Topics
Our Scientists
Science Links
Contact Information
What was the most important experiment that you had to do and you can't mess up?
Question Date: 2020-03-30
Answer 1:

Adissyn, great question. The most important experiment I had to do was at a Nuclear reactor in Maryland. We wanted neutrons fired in a beam, bouncing off our sample from a nuclear reactor. This nuclear reactor sample was less than an inch long. A tough bullseye to hit from 100 feet away! I had 5 days to measure all 60 samples. No bonus time! After bouncing off, the neutrons hit a sensitive screen, like a TV. Bright colors appeared where the neutrons hit which taught us about the inside of the sample. This helped us start building stronger nuclear reactors!

Answer 2:

For most scientists, probably the most crucial experiments (where they feel they can't make a mistake) are those that 'cost' the most, either in terms of money, time, resources, etc. But everyone makes mistakes constantly in science, and often those mistakes give really interesting results that you wouldn't get if the experiment had gone according to plan. As a scientist, you have to learn to embrace mistakes while also being efficient with your time and funding.

I have been lucky so far that my experiments do not use a lot of expensive equipment. However, I have to prioritize which experiments are the most important, and "messing up" an experiment can be frustrating because I have to start over from the beginning, which can take a lot of time.

Answer 3:

As long as people are doing experiments, they will make mistakes- so there is always a chance I will mess up during an experiment! Sometimes, I have to use really expensive equipment to build our microscopes- and I am always worried that I will drop or break something valuable, so I try to be really careful.

Answer 4:

Depends on what you mean by 'mess up'. As an observational scientist, I let nature do the experiments for me. However, I need to analyze the data correctly and choose the system correctly.

Answer 5:

Raising my son and my daughter! My son has grown into a wonderful man with 2 daughters. My daughter is having problems now, and I worry about what I could have done differently.

Click Here to return to the search form.

University of California, Santa Barbara Materials Research Laboratory National Science Foundation
This program is co-sponsored by the National Science Foundation and UCSB School-University Partnerships
Copyright © 2020 The Regents of the University of California,
All Rights Reserved.
UCSB Terms of Use