1. You follow a recipe/protocol
2. Quality of ingredients is everything! Fresh ingredients/reagents produce the best results. Using the expired ingredients/reagents usually means trouble. That said, sometimes you can get away with using stuff that’s 10 years old – no guarantees, though!
3. When two different people follow the same recipe/protocol the results will always be slightly different.
4. Everyone has their own way of pipetting, cutting vegetables, beating eggs and splitting cells.
5. The first time you try a completely new recipe/protocol (involving a new technique or using new Fancy Equipment) – most likely it will not work.
6. You adjust your recipe/protocol to fit your needs. Often, this is a direct consequence of 5.
7. Trouble-shooting. This includes but not limited to figuring out which reagent went bad, fixing the food processor/centrifuge, frantically calling the company because the freezer is down, dealing with radiation safety and garbage collection and last but not least, calling your mom for advice.
8. There will be a day when your trusted recipe/protocol will not work even though you did everything as usual and you are 100% sure your ingredients are fine. You blame the weather/aliens/mother-in-law/boss.
9. You can mindlessly follow the recipe/protocol, but it is so much better if you understand the science behind it.
10. When you get a good result – be it data that sheds new light on your project or absolutely delicious pies – it is absolutely, remarkably AWESOME and you want to share the pies – or data – with the world.
11. It is really, really INFURIATING if you can never again make your pies taste THAT good – or if you can’t replicate the data.
12. Being persistent and not afraid to fail is the key to success.
Do you think science and cooking are similar? Anything you can add to this list?