CatCave9 S02E06: Real scientists, scary defenses, and a duck

In the Science Guest Spot: Joseph Beckwith from UNIGE

Nine, nine, nine – CatCave! Nine Catalyzers (mostly in shorts, thanks to 30 degree weather) lead by our very own MC Charles dared to bring some of the most challenging short-forms ever performed by CC9 to a plentiful Lausannois audience.

We found out that both paying your bills and brushing your teeth can be a lot like sex. To cool down our heads, we headed right for the “bucket-o-fun/death”, in which at any point during a scene one of our improvisers had to keep their head under water. This can make a visit to the dentist even more stressful than usual. After having our CC9 data scientists pour over the sensor measurements (see Fig. 1) we conclude that both Dane and Gustavo are very consistently suited for underwater life, while Robbie shows promise in being able to hold his breath the longest on the first run (leading to a larger variability in his average time spent underwater).

Figure 1: Per-actor statistics of Bucket-O-Fun/Death. All panels display data for all 4 actors, manually measured from video footage (24 frames/s; 1s accuracy). A: Count of face-to-bucket entries. B: Total time spent in face-submerged state. C: Segmented time of face-submerged states (compare to panel A). D: Average time spent in face-submerged state. See footnote 1)AS recorded the experiment. RB analyzed and visualized the data. AS wrote the caption. for author contributions.

Our audience will always remember that “the last straw breaks the camel’s back” is very similar to “when a chicken breaks bad, the rooster does good”. Besides, found out that Bordeaux wines are over-rated (when compared to a good can of beer), and that there’s an eminent pollen sorter in the deep woods of science.

Our science guest-speaker was Joseph Beckwith from the Vauthey Group at UNIGE. Joseph talked to us about his doctoral research on light-induced chemistry, with the goal of being able to better unlock the potential of solar energy. The four basic chemical reactions inspired our improvisers to invent the game of stone-paper-scissor-duck. In the interest of drama, we had to escalate this a little, eventually telling the engrossing story of Sandra, the inventor of stone-paper-scissor-duck-duck-goose, in way-back-when.

In the CatCave9 Journal-Couch we discuss (and act on) some research we recently read or experienced! Here’s what went down:

  • Patrick told us about automated sorting of cells by microfluidics 2)Yamada et al. (2017). Slanted, asymmetric microfluidic lattices as size-selective sieves for continuous particle/cell sorting. Lab on a Chip, 17(2), 304–314. https://doi.org/10.1039/C6LC01237J.
  • Daisy shared a story of sorting red and green pollen by hand, as used in 3)Ziolkowski et al (2015). Juxtaposition of heterozygous and homozygous regions causes reciprocal crossover remodelling via interference during Arabidopsis meiosis. eLife, 4, e03708. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03708
  • Alex told us about the experience of his PhD thesis defense, the fearsome days before it, and the realization during the defense that he wasn’t going to be eaten alive 4) This is also VERY accurate . Some improvisers then also demonstrated what a sauna-defense in Finland looks like.

In our final long form we finally got around to screening the premiere of “The Real Scientists of Lausanne”, our very own reality TV format documenting the exciting lives of Lausannois scientists. We focused on the genetics lab 5)I love Genetics, Genetics is my life, yo.” – Professor P of Professor “Tony” P 6)In this lab, we’re known for two things: awesome science, and awesome pecs.” – Professor P. We had three doctoral students Jack, Ralph, and Sam, compete in a grand science-off at Ouchy for the only funded position. Since she really “knew her shit” Sam won in a landslide, steering the lab into the new direction of applied caffeine research.

If you didn’t make it, don’t feel bad! Our next show will be after the summer break on Thursday 21th September at Cinema Oblo.

Bibliography   [ + ]

1. AS recorded the experiment. RB analyzed and visualized the data. AS wrote the caption.
2. Yamada et al. (2017). Slanted, asymmetric microfluidic lattices as size-selective sieves for continuous particle/cell sorting. Lab on a Chip, 17(2), 304–314. https://doi.org/10.1039/C6LC01237J
3. Ziolkowski et al (2015). Juxtaposition of heterozygous and homozygous regions causes reciprocal crossover remodelling via interference during Arabidopsis meiosis. eLife, 4, e03708. https://doi.org/10.7554/eLife.03708
4. This is also VERY accurate 
5. I love Genetics, Genetics is my life, yo.” – Professor P
6. In this lab, we’re known for two things: awesome science, and awesome pecs.” – Professor P

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