• Question: what is the best piece of equipment you have ever used?

    Asked by t7158 to Laura, Nicola, Norman, Sandra, Thanasis on 15 Mar 2013.
    • Photo: Norman Lazarus

      Norman Lazarus answered on 15 Mar 2013:

      I think by best you mean the one that opened my eyes to new horizons. If that is what you mean then a microscope.

    • Photo: Laura Soul

      Laura Soul answered on 15 Mar 2013:

      Well the most useful piece of equipment that I use is my computer, without it I couldn’t do most of the research that I do. The most amazing piece of equipment I have ever used was a synchrotron. This is a type of particle accelerator, it makes atoms go really fast and then fires a beam of them at whatever you put inside it. You can put fossils inside it and then it makes a really detailed picture of the fossil where you can see it in 3D. If a fossil is trapped inside a rock and you can’t see all of it, if you use the synchrotron you can make an image of the part of the fossil inside the rock, so its like you can see through the rock! That is a really good piece of equipment.

    • Photo: Sandra Phinbow

      Sandra Phinbow answered on 15 Mar 2013:

      I’m with Normal on this one. It was the humble light microscope that opened my eyes to the world of science 33 years ago playing with worms in the garden, and I use one every day at work. I have a nice one that’s wroth about GBP6000

      I’ve also used a very nice autostainer that stains up the antigen sites on tissue by plonking it’s matching antibody on it then sticking on some colour. It’s called an immunohistochemistry auto stainer. It was about GBP70,000 – we have 5 of them 🙂

      Btw I can’t find the pound sign on this laptop so GBP means pounds!

    • Photo: Nicola Wardrop

      Nicola Wardrop answered on 15 Mar 2013:

      Hmmm… one time on fieldwork I set up my GPS (which tells me exactly where I am) to link with my laptop. On my laptop I had a special mapping programme, and it tracked exactly where I was on the map. Then I could add information directly on to the map, and know exactly where I was. My map had what looks like a photograph taken from space, so I could see things like forests, roads etc on it as we drove past them. It was pretty cool…a bit like using a satnav, only much better! And it made my fieldwork MUCH easier to finish!

    • Photo: Thanasis Georgiou

      Thanasis Georgiou answered on 18 Mar 2013:

      The most exciting one was a FIB – focused ion beam.

      You use an electrom beam to image a sample, and then fire some ions at the same time and see what happens! This way you can write your name atom-by-atom!