Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Making/Setting Standards

One month post Peru and I'm heading to the lab today. A history undergraduate with growing lab skills and an interest in the environment, Michael, has prepped the samples for analyses. Today, he, Catherine, and I are headed to the OSU Trace Element Research Lab to make some not-so -trace standards to measure the amount of metal in Peruvian water samples. I've taught Catherine the art of making ppt standards, but in today's refresher course we will move up to multi-element standards at high concentrations. We will make a 40 element 100, 10, and 1 ppM stock standard. (1 ppM is a grain of salt in an Olympic sized swimming pool...even so, many heavy metals are toxic at the 10 ppM level). To achieve this feat requires a lot of concentration (no pun intended), and good recording skills. I also think, hand-thumb coordination is a plus for pipetting small volumes of liquid.... if all goes well we will have some data soon.