China Research


Patience Takes Practice

As of yesterday afternoon I have finally finished my first run on the instrument. It took about a week, when it should have taken about six hours. I was very excited last Tuesday to get my data, until like every good instrument the AAS decided to die. I was able to get my lead and cadmium data and nothing more, and it took a day to complete. The technician was called as soon as we discovered that something was wrong. However, we are in a far reaching corner of China, and the technician is stationed in some big bustling city, so it was not until Monday of this week when he finally showed up. Of course when he arrived, it was around 12:30, so he needed to take a nap before he worked. So he did not repair anything until 2 PM. I was able to watch him repair it, however it was not necessarily a repair, the problem was not with the instrument, but rather the conditions of the room where the instrument is. There was too much moisture in the air which affected the performance of the flame and the lamps, it was well known by my lab that moisture is a problem, but due to the cost of constantly running an air conditioner or dryer, it was shrugged off. But finally, yesterday I finished my run, getting my zinc, chromium, and copper data. The data looks as good as it can get, considering that I am looking at the concentration in the sediment, which is bad news for the people drinking the water. So now I get to go collecting on a boat for my own sediment samples around Xiamen, and test them, which should be some frightening data, since people are scared to go in the water already. The week of nothing, turned out to be an alright experience as we went hiking on Saturday, and shopping on Sunday, and we went to lunch at Pizza Hut, which in China is on the same level as a Bertucci’s. I just hope that everything works out for the collecting trip, and I can start to really experience research in China.