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Week 4 July 7-11

Its amazing that I'm already almost halfway done with my summer here. Whether I'm almost halfday done with my project is an entirely different question. One realization I've come across is that many of my problems result from lack of technique and background! Something that might take me two hours would take someone with more experience and skill mere minutes! So rather than judge my progress during this summer based on valuable data produced, it'd be more fair to judge it based on the experience/knowledge I've gained and the improvement of methods. It's all about the method development.

Yesterday resulted in some promising results! Instead of poking in the dark, I'm trying to base my experiments mostly on a paper published last year. It gives me a good baseline to work off of. I'm trying a couple different things for my electrode configuration though. Instead of packing a tiny cavity full of dry MnO2 powder, I'm trying to make an electrode with a bigger surface (so I can get a bigger signal). I won't get into the details, but I've definitely run into many problems that have to do with technique. For instance, part of this required getting silver epoxy into a tiny pipet tip without touching the edges of a reminds of the game Operation, which was terrible at (and it looks that I'd still be terrible).

A lot of this summer has been getting promising looking data, that I later on discover is only the result of other variables that I failed to control for. For example, I had no idea that the temperature of hydrogen peroxide I added (even i fit was just microliters) would affect the current.

It's slow progress, but at least I'm moving. =) This weekend will be a hot one, and I'll be at the beach!