I’m trying to remain calm. I am an objective observer in the world of science and whatever the result, I will NOT let it cloud my emotions. I am neutral and I will remain that way… oh who am I kidding, I DID IT! Two years of planning and convincing people this would work. Then last night I had my first result, and it was a relief. It was a small step, but one I was afraid the data wouldn’t let me make.
Two years October to be exact. I had just started in the lab, had no idea what I was doing, how to do it, or what I was getting myself into. I knew I had to learn a LOT and that was about it. So for several months I sat and watched and learned and listened and thought. At the time I had wanted to do super invasive research, I figured it was cutting edge (no pun intended) and that was where I wanted to live. In a non-invasive lab, that idea went out the window really quickly.
I still have ideas, don’t get me wrong, but I had to tailor what I was doing to where I was. I’m glad it worked out the way it did, non-invasive research can happen much faster than invasive research. Still, I wanted to do something new and exciting. Something innovative that no one else was doing.
I looked at the limitations of the methods are lab used and watched very carefully. I was looking for the gap, something someone missed or a way to resolve some issue. I don’t recall exactly how it came to me, or when. However, I know for certain it was at the beginning of October two years ago that my idea came to me.
March of last year I did my first experiment and after a lot of struggles (see the paragraph at the beginning when I said I had to learn.. a LOT!), I defended and passed my qualifying exam with the data I had collected. While I couldn’t say for sure I had the signal I claimed, it was clear I had something and that I would continue this line of research to ensure that the signal was what I said it was.
All of this is vague, I know, but that’s because I’m working on publishing my findings soon(ish) so you’ll have to wait until my paper(s) start coming before I can share the big secret.
Point being, over the past few weeks we collected a lot of new data using an experiment that would let me say for certain that I did or did not have what I claimed to have. I processed that data, segmented the data, and last night I analyzed the data. First I looked at it the way my Co-PI’s lab does things and basically I found nothing.
My heart sank for a moment and I was going to say screw it and not bother with the rest. If what I was looking for wasn’t clear enough, there was no point in continuing with the rest of the analysis. It turned out that I had dropped a zero so I was looking around the 1500 mark when I should’ve been looking at the 15000 mark, but that’s beside the point. Even then I couldn’t tell if I had something or not, it’s all just squiggles in the amplitude domain. Not my favorite way of doing things!
I switched over to the way I knew would tell me for sure if there was something going on, I looked at the frequency domain, the same way I did my original data processing for my first experiment and would you believe I found something? It’s all very early on, but it’s a good sign. I found something across several of the conditions and while I’m still trying to piece together what I have and what that information tells me, I’m just so excited. There’s still so much to do, but this is a great start and it was my “toughest” subject in terms of finding the proper signal.
So yeah, I have some work to do, but I couldn’t help but share with all of you the good news. I’m about to bring something into the world that didn’t exist before. It feels pretty damn good and while I hope it changes the world, even if it doesn’t it’s still pretty cool.