X-Message-Number: 33254
Date: Tue, 18 Jan 2011 11:02:09 -0500
From: "Perry E. Metzger" <>
Subject: a small aside on automated data collection...
References: <>

A small aside...

Mike Darwin writes:
> MD: I'll leave this question to Brian, because he can discourse at
> length on the magic that is differential scanning calorimetery
> (DSC). DSC can detect  the minutest of phase changes in a sample,
> and if your numbers all sum out  right, then you can be pretty sure
> "what's what" after cooling to any given  temperature. I was still
> at 21CM when Brian began this work, and it was horrible  - the kind
> of thing that would drive me barking mad. Basically you crimp a
> tiny  volume of solution 'just so' into sealed metal pans, and put
> them in the device  and cool them. Of course, the catch is, that
> you must do this thousands and  thousands of times to build a
> picture of how different solutions behave under  different regimens
> of cooling and re-warming. It is boring, repetitive  and truly
> dull  work.>>

These days, this is what one builds small robots to do. (That is what
has made much of recent science possible. No one could handle the
precision and boredom associated with many modern data collection
tasks -- automation is why they are possible at all. Luckily,
technology to do things like that has gotten dirt cheap in the last
decade or so.)


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