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Ethan fuels my inner desire to be a ski bum

After eight weeks I certainly have learned a lot about fluorescence and fluorescent whitening agents. I have not however figured out whether or not they are in my cotton samples from the estuary. I'm almost done running all my samples from the cruise on the fluorometer. We found out soaking them in water gives best fluorescent signal, but its hard to tell what the signal is. I could make a equally convincing stories from my data that they are in the river and that they are not. I've definitely come up with more questions about fluorescent whitening agents than I can resolve in two weeks.

The Coast and Cotton Samples

Well this has been a hectic week. I have been running between Pierre's lab which houses the fluorometer I use to get excitation emission data and ours to analyze the data on the computer. Anyway I knew things would be rushed after I spent two weeks on the cruise so oh well...

Barnes Cruise 2008: Dare. Risk. Dream.

Well, today was my first day back from the Barnes cruise. Work picked right back up where I left it (with plenty of samples to analyze on the Fluoromax 4) and it almost feels like I never spent two weeks on a retired icebreaker traveling up and down the Columbia River.

Tawnya drove Jami, Joe, Florian and me to Astoria on the 15th

pre-cruise work

Last week was pretty busy preparing for the cruise especially since it was a short week. I finalized my sample sites and worked with Joe to make a cotton holding device to collect whitening agents at the end of our pump. Cotton absorbs the whitening agents and we are hoping to concentrate them in this device. On weds we had presented data to the other interns. I was able to get some good data from the spectrofluorometer using different detergents for this.

CMOP cuisine

As this blog may be a resource for aspiring CMOP interns, in addition to discussing my lab work I would like to use this weeks blog as an opportunity to reflect on something that is very important to college students and has been plentiful this week-free food.

Week 2

When light hits a fluorescent molecule, giving it energy, the molecule's electrons are excited. They release this energy as light with a longer wavelength. I finished reading about the effects of light on fluorescent whitening agents with a presentation to my lab group (Joe, Tawnya, Jami and Anna-Mai) and Paul on Wednesday. I was glad to be done with my presentation and begin work in the lab that afternoon. I began to learn about ways to measure light. The fluorometer we are using emits light that passes through a filter. Each sample is only exposed to chosen wavelengths.

Week One

Have you ever wondered what laundry detergent does to make your whites whiter and your brights brighter? I spent the past week researching the organic compounds (fluorescent whitening agents or FWAs) that keep our favorite clothing looking good and their fate when they leave the washing machine. Fluorescent whitening agent is a deceptive name; FWAs don't actually make clothing whiter. Instead, by absorbing UV light and emitting blue light, they make fabric look less yellow.

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