Yes I am a boring person.
My job on the other hand… now that’s cool.
At the precise moment, I’m working with lithium borate fusion beads, which means basically I’m taking tiny bits of my samples, mixing them with lithium borate granules, heating the whole darn thing up to slightly over a thousand centigrade (about 1900 F) and pouring it into a mold. Eventually I’ll be analyzing these, but that’s not the interesting part for a blog.
Here’s a thing: in engineering labs earlier this year, I was melting different compositions of metal alloy – boring story, never mind that – but the alloy I was working with developed the most beautiful shot-purple oxide layer on top, that tore if you touched it (with a probe, with a probe, I’m not a moron) and showed the mirror-shiny molten metal underneath. And it was fantastic. And it cooled into swirly purple layers on top. And I made the grave mistake of pointing out how pretty it was, and… yeah, apparently that’s not a very engineering thing to do. Weird looks, crossings-out in my lab report with ‘this is unnecessary’.
But I’m a chemist! So if I think something’s absolutely beautiful, I am allowed, and because in most cases it is a legitimate observation, encouraged to say so. So I can have lines in my lab reports like ‘the oil formed was a rather gorgeous deep topaz orange, and perfectly clear’ and ‘large, rather charming, flaky crystals with a translucent appearance’ and the most comment I’ll get is a little smiley face (from the awepic lecturer who marks ‘three benzene rings for the elven kings under the sky’ with a large red G rune) or a question mark from the uptight one. Nobody cares. And I find this sort of thing is legitimate, published, journal articles as well. So stuff the materials engineers, the world’s beautiful and I’m lucky to get to see parts of it most people don’t.
I just wanted to show y’all what I was working on today: these are some of my favorite sample beads from today’s run.
And this is a photo taken through one of the beads, compared to one taken just plain:
And this is the absolute best part of my day, and when I’m working flat-out it happens every half-hour:
You might wanna watch without the sound, it’s just the furnace roaring.
So anyway, that’s what I’m up to at the moment. Also writing, but the main thing at the moment is an awkward Christmas story that I can’t publish for a while yet.
Thanks for reading.