I let out a long and tired sigh of frustration.
It had been 14 hours since my experiment had begun. It was well after 11 pm, on Friday night. I turned off the hot plate, decided to leave the dark brown reaction mixture overnight and clean up in the morning.
I had tried every method, every strategy that I could think of. It was high time something worked. It was utterly discouraging to keep going day after day with such disappointing results.
It seemed inspiring when I read stories of how Thomas Edison tried thousands of filaments before he built the first successful light bulb. But that story was not helpful at this context when my Professor was waiting for results. What was I going to tell him? That instead of one method to produce the desired compound, I had 100 methods of not producing it? This was the limit, I could not take it any more.
I reached home just after midnight and fell into a troubled sleep.
Another day, another plan. It was time to resume the fight. I reached the lab just after 9 am, pretty early for a Saturday. I went back to my failed reaction to clean up the mess. I stopped in my tracks.
There they were, the pile of glistening red crystals soaking in a yellow solution.
It is moments like these that make years of frustration worthwhile.
Dr. Soumyashree Sreehari