And in the Category of “Naturally”…

Things have been perhaps a wee bit busy of late. And as I enumerate all that’s going on in my life right now, I wonder how I’m even functioning. Big stressors this week are the National Science Foundation grant proposal deadline on Friday (I’m almost ready), the start of my online course on the Business of Craft Beer (I’m a student), and the stupid mass spectrometer deciding to inconveniently blow a filament. All this is on top of ‘the usual’ stresses of teaching, weather, dealing with my son and all his therapies, the dog… oof.

So today I’m cleaning the ion source for the mass spectrometer.

The ion source. Tiny. Powerful. Lots of parts.
The ion source. Tiny. Powerful. Lots of parts. (The stripes in the photo are because the fluorescent light doesn’t like my camera.)

It’s an amazing little contraption. I like to take pictures because 1) they’re cool and 2) they’re a handy reference for when you forget how things went together.

Part way through taking it apart. All those little screws!
Part way through taking it apart. All those little screws!
Even more apart. This is where things get lost.
Even more apart. This is where things get lost.

And you sit there and remind yourself that when it’s running, there’s a 3000 V electron beam in there. And now I’m just brushing and wiping and cleaning and…

Clink.

Naturally.
Naturally.

These two tiny plates, each about an inch long, with a tiny lead spot welded in place. Only now the lead has broken off of one.

Too bad super glue won’t work.

I call in for a replacement and I think, well if one failed, the other might soon. So I buy two. Yeah… That’s $600. Have a nice day.

And there’s not much else for me to do today. I guess I’ll go and… uh. um.

*sigh*

Is that proposal finished yet?

Published by paleololigo

Scientist (Paleontology, Geochemistry, Geology); Writer (Speculative and Science Fiction, plus technical and non-technical Science); Mom to great boy on the Autism spectrum; possessor of too many hobbies.

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