The core facility is a community space
When researchers frame diverse scientific questions in ways that can be addressed with the same technology, they develop common language and skills that form the basis of community. The NMR Facility thus sets a stage where researchers do more than simply acquire data – in this place, they celebrate success, console failure, and exchange ideas together.
Here are some elements of our laboratory that help foster community.
Facility users are required to use secondary containers when transporting their samples to and from the lab.
To help encourage safe lab practice, the NMR Facility provides a suitable white plastic Erlenmeyer flask to each researcher upon completion of Level1 training. Researchers are encouraged to personalize their flasks to clarify ownership, and the facility provides a number of materials for this purpose, and to have some fun. We provide paint pens, glitter pens, google eyes, rhinestones, stickers, etc.
Our researchers clearly know how to express themselves using this safety-oriented medium! Check out their creations in the gallery here.
Having observed that chemists often draw chemical structures on scrap pieces of paper, including Kimwipes, we sought to improve support for their need to sketch. In 2019, we obtained some inexpensive desktop dry-erase boards for the manually-operated instruments.
Chemists are now using them to help them think about their scientific problems. As a bonus, some are using the medium to communicate with one another and express themselves.
Student Instrumentation Committee
The NMR Facility is primarily a resource for students and other researchers at UChicago. When setting lab policies, identifying user needs, and communicating with users, we coordinate with the Student Instrumentation Committee, which comprises representatives of the major NMR-using laboratories on campus.
To efficiently communicate with our NMR users, we make use of a blog format. This is where we post significant announcements such as equipment and software acquisitions, policy changes, tips and tricks, etc.
Only the latest post is shown here. For the complete list, visit:
Here’s a tip for you when acquiring long experiments manually: use the Autoshim feature. Located in the BSMS control window, clicking “Start” will ensure your shim quality stays good over long periods (~4+ hours). But when you’re done, be sure to click “Start” again to toggle it off, or else it’ll continue operating when the next user is trying to run, which will surprise them and give them inconvenience.