LabTales

"Those who tell the stories rule the world."  -- Hopi American Indian Proverb (also attributed to Plato).

 

If only the test tubes could speak! Since they don’t, here’s the next best thing – stories from the front lines of cutting-edge research told by young, excited independent researchers.

LabTales are descriptive, 'popular-styled' accounts written by students about their laboratory research experiences.  Emphasis is on the experience rather than a detailed technical lab report. Experiences highlight the lessons learned and insights gained from early hands-on participation in the processes of research, discovery and innovation.

LabTales is a reflection by students, high school and college, about being involved for the very first time in real independent laboratory research.  This is where the journey begins for all new products, services and technologies we use everyday, from Viagra to iPods, from Lasik surgery to flatscreen TVs.

LabTales show you don’t need a PhD to do real research nor do you need eight years of science courses to make real discoveries. The starting point is a curious mind.  High school and early college students are Not Too Young To Research.

The stories you will read in the coming weeks are from students in Andrews University Professor Desmond Murray’s 2011 Berrien RESA Math Science Center Grade 12 class. 22 students working in teams of 2 conducted 11 different organic chemistry research projects that included synthesis of dyes; novel fragrances/flavors based on ginger; hybrid drugs of ibuprofen, Vitamin B and Vitamin C; biocompatible polymers; biodegradable cosmetic chemicals; antifungal agents; conducting polymers and molecular sensors with potential forensic applications. 

Students were required to complete written assignments regarding various aspects of how real scientists think and about their journey from idea to marketable product. In addition, each research group give a professional Power Point presentation and lab demonstration of instruments and techniques at the 1st BEST Early Research Symposium held on April 27, 2011 (http://www.bestearly.com/best-symposium-celebrates-early-research-participation). Funding for the research and LabTales came from National Science Foundation grants awarded to Professor Murray.