Saturday, 22 January 2011

Music in the lab

Progress has been somewhat slow this week due to a complete lack of motivation on my part. The “coming back to work after Christmas” blues has apparently skipped a few weeks and come back with a vengeance now. Oh dear.

As I’ve previously stated, I work in a fairly large group. In total, including undergrad project students and MSc students we have 15 in a lab containing 8 fumehoods and not quite enough glassware to avoid fairly regular confrontations about who is the “owner” of a certain flask. While this does cause the odd full-scale pookie*** by someone in the lab, nothing causes quite as much stress in the lab as what music we all listen to during the day. At any given time, I can walk in and hear Bob Marley, French rap music, Radiohead, Dire Straits, a Disney soundtrack, solo piano music, or any one of almost any genre you can think of. Normally this doesn’t bother me, other than the possibility of listening to pounding European trance music at 10am on a Tuesday morning.

While I do accept everyone has their own taste in music, some are most definitely better than others (there’s something a bit Orwell-esque about that comment I accept). Nothing can polarise my lab more than when we are halfway through listening to a bit of Beethoven and suddenly the opening bars of Bohemian Rhapsody at 100 decibels rings out over the lab. The best way to resolve this I have found is to stick some headphones in and get on with something that would take my mind off things (I really, really don’t like Queen).

I don’t know if anyone else has this problem or whether it is just me. Some places I know ban music completely in labs and some labs (albeit this would be somewhat miraculous) may all agree on what should be played in the lab on a regular basis. Anyone care to comment on this?


*** I don’t know how widespread the use of the word “pookie” is. Essentially, a “pookie” is one of those moments where someone doesn’t quite go completely mental about something but just gets a bit stroppy. Synonyms include “throwing your toys out of the pram” or “having a barney”. I feel it describes particularly well this turn of events…

1 comment:

  1. Music in the lab has been a divisive issue (we have 10 grad students, undergrads, and postdocs milling about in a single lab room). Disagreements over whether music should or should not be played was enough to convince our PI to move some people out of the lab room into another lab space, just to keep the peace.

    The agreement was generally that if common music could not be found, no music would be played at all. Most people walk around with their own headphones anyway. I personally find that headphones shut out your surroundings too much, and people have said that they make you even more difficult to approach. Since the fighting parties were separated, music has been reintroduced to the lab, featuring such classics as the N'Sync Christmas album, the Beatles, and a medley of Lady Gaga "Just Dance" remixes.