As with any endeavor, there are specific items that you will want to acquire for your journey as a postdoc. Many items are likely to be specific to the specialty you have chosen. It is my goal to share with you those items that I have found to be absolutely CRITICAL and generally universal.
#1. A role of sturdy tape
Whaaaaaaaat? Tape?!? That’s right. The first item on this list is something you can find anywhere. It’s not an erlenmeyer flask, a beaker, a bunson burner, or anything that generally denotes “science”. It’s tape.
Recently, I was putting together the materials for my latest experiment. I had several fancy-pants components that I was assembling. Three pieces of equipment that totaled about $50,000. Plus a bunch of non-reusable parts that racked up another $300 per sample. What was the only way to get it to all function properly? Tape. That’s right, I was working with the equivalent of an awesome sports car, and it was all held together with tape.
Yay science! As you can imagine, I have become a connoisseur of sorts when it comes to to tape–and I don’t mean that regular ol’ scotch kind (though plain masking tape is oddly handy). Nope, my favorite is the classic rainbow role that you can purchase from most science vendors like this one. I use it to compulsively label everything, I territorially make off “my” section of the lab bench, cold room, etc. with it, and I weave it together to form supports for the various wires and tubes that I use for experiments. It’s super-handy. I also occasionally dabble in electrical, duct, and packing tape.
#2 Krazy glue
This pretty much falls under the same category. If you can’t tape your shit together, you should release the kragle. Krazy glue is a pretty versatile product. Mostly, the hard part is in exercising some measure of patience before trying to use whatever you just glued together. Krazy glue also mixes wonderfully with powdered dental acrylic (like the kind you would use to fix dentures)–and once you do that, the world is your oyster. A fabulously well-bonded and terminally un-openable oyster.
Stick around (pun!) and I’ll keep a running list of things to add to your postdoc bag o’ tricks under the “Items and Inventory” tab.