Draft: Teamwork Makes the Dream Work — Week 5 at Stanford Chemical Engineering

Mar 23, 2019

Hello beloved readers!

‘Tis Ethan, back again with my newest platinum-filled blog post! I appreciate you for returning to see what I’ve been up to lately in the lab at the Stanford Shriram Center! Admittedly, week 5 marked a slight slowdown in my pace of research, for the most part, due to a particularly unfortunate set of uncontrollable circumstances. What is it that happened? I’ll tell you about it.

For a quick recap, last week, I synthesized a batch of four vanadium-oxide-containing catalysts and tested them in the Zeus reactor. Amazingly the vanadium oxide showed tremendous potential — the light-off curves that I obtained from my data suggested that the addition of vanadium oxide boosts the activity of the catalytic platinum nanoparticles substantially (or so it seems… see “And at Last I See the (UV) Light” for a slight twist). Now, if you’ll also recall from way back in week 3, my reactor tests also showed that tungsten oxide, too, has the ability to have an immense positive impact on the activity of our catalysts.

… *stuff will be added here* …

Furthermore, one of my lab-mates recently discovered that pretty much every single one of our pipettes is either MISCALIBRATED and/or BROKEN, meaning that I cannot proceed with any of the concentration measurements until this issue is addressed… sad. Angel recently put in an order for brand new pipettes (they’re insanely expensive, by the way), but they might not get here until two weeks from now, which means I’ll have to spend some time creatively finding other experiments that I can do while I wait for UPS.

… *more stuff will be added here* …

~Ethan Y. Feng

Quote of the week:

Don’t tell anyone, but I have a special hiding spot for my snacks so that nobody can take them from me. Never put your snacks in the public fridge — people will undoubtedly steal them.

–Angel Yang, Chemical Engineering Graduate Student at Stanford University

I was recently amused by the claim that apparently, grad school is just one big every-man-for-himself free-for-all of who can grab the most food before anyone else does. That’s probably why Stanford provides free bagels, yogurt, and other snacks at pretty much every university-hosted event you could think of. What a fun place.

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