A Shift in Focus
By Chazley Hulett
September 23, 2016
My focus at the Advanced Fuels Center has shifted in the last week. All of our major reactions have been completed and I have been tasked with compiling and analyzing the results. While many may see lab work as the glamorous part of research, data analysis is truly the core of it. During analysis researchers get to see the big picture of all the results and assess how effective the employed reaction parameters or how legitimate the proposed hypotheses were.
Analysis in this case involves collections of numbers; all of which either come from direct measurements of weight using a scale or area percentages from the Gas Chromatograph/Mass Spectrometer (GC/MS). I have been using Excel and its formulas in combination with these numbers to calculate data such as product yields. With the yields I am also able to construct graphs to conclude visually which reactions achieved a higher total product percentage.
Even though sitting at a desk and staring at a computer may not be the most stimulating form of research, it is still the most important part. When writing a scientific paper there are several sections that must be included with the paper in order for it be published (sometimes it varies by which journal you want to publish in) although the Results and Discussion are always included. That is where this data that I have been analyzing will be placed, either in the form of a table with percent yields or graphs of the same manner.
Analysis of this kind is used throughout the scientific community. As a current and future researcher this analytical experience I am gaining at the Advanced Fuels Center can be used not only for my current class load but also for my prospective graduate studies.