Imagine what you need to know better and go for it. If it doesn’t exist – create it.
There are some downsides to not owning and controlling all important instruments that we need for our work. One of the many upsides is that we stay outside the certification and accreditation box. Being on the outside, we can adapt and modify methods and tools to fit our specific purposes. Occasionally, we also build our own tools to gain clarity.
The first time we built our own tool it broke. Actually, it worked during the day and unfortunately broke during the night. Since it was filled with our sample, and this was more corrosive than we thought it to be, it and all the sample it contained was found on the lab floor the second morning. Still to this day, there is pride in the construction. It did work, it was just the wrong selection of material.
The photo-booth that Tobias built over the holidays as a surprise gift to the team, quickly named the ToBox, has however survived many uses and might even be in for a crossed polarizer up grade. The rotating plasma flame that turned by using a drill motor also did the trick when we modified surfaces to improve lamination of two materials, and the emptied teabags were perfect for desiccant development.
Being in an environment where experiments can be made based on what would be best, not what is available is incredibly important. When CR was founded, there was both an academic workshop and a glass blower in the same building, the Chemical Center. They made sure that for the scientists everything was possible (if it didn’t break the laws of thermodynamics). Having experienced the potential in the imaginable it is one of the things CR want to be part of nurturing.
If you don’t own the instrument – ask someone who does. If it doesn’t work – modify it. If it doesn’t exist – build it.