China Research

Dirty Dirt

I have now been in Xiamen for two weeks, and have been busy for most of the time. To start off with my research, my professor and I agreed that perhaps it would be wise for me to read some papers on the background and methods of my research. I of course agreed as I want to know the most I can as I perform the experiments. It was also beneficial because the field of study that I am researching in at the university was entirely new to me. I am experimenting with the heavy metals in the sediment in the waters of south China. Right now I am analyzing six samples from Beibu Gulf in the southwestern region of China. I was placed in an organic geochemistry lab, where little to no work on sediments is performed; they mostly work on the geochemistry of biological samples such as fish. I have one student, who goes by the name of Joe who has been helping me through most of the process since it has begun. At the same time he has been trying to finish his thesis and graduate, as well as prepare his applications for graduate school. For him to take time out of his busy schedule to help me, motivates me to do even better and work harder. I have been sacrificing my mornings and getting to the lab as early as possible as well as staying late in the lab to clean and prep for the next day. Today is the first day that I am able to run my samples on the instrument. I am using an Atomic Absorption Spectrometer to detect five heavy metals including zinc, copper, cadmium, lead, and chromium in the sediment samples. This research will hopefully give insight to the people living in the area, that the amount of metals in the water is due to their industry and lifestyle, and that the water is not safe to use.