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Wasting time the good old fashioned way

I wasted 3 hours today. When I say “wasted”, I don’t mean I sat around and didn’t do any work, I mean I did lots of unnecessary work.

Basically, I did a reaction in one of my practicals. Seeing as what usually happens is that two things are reacted together, to give a product. However, there’s always some of one starting material left over in the final stuff as well, seeing as one of them was bound to be in excess at the start. So I looked up what I did to find out which would be in excess, and then ran my product against that starting material (benzophenone if anyone’s interested) on a TLC (don’t ask) to see exactly where it came. Sure enough I got a blob in my product which matched the starting material blob, and then another blob which I assumed to be the product.

I then spent three hours doing a flash column (it’s long and tedious) in order to separate these two blobs out from each other. After collecting what I thought was entirely pure product, I ran various spectra on it only to discover that it wasn’t product at all, and just the other starting material (Ethyl acetoacetate). Basically, the reaction hadn’t worked, and I just had both starting materials there.

I was distinctly pissed off at this point, not only because I had just wasted three hours, but also because today was the last lab day, and the only thing I can put in my write-up is how it didn’t work.

Now that I’ve finished ranting on about that, I think it’s also fair to exclaim that people in general are crap, and they’re destroying my monopoly on being crap.

Damn them, damn them all.