Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemistry of a cuppa: Helping to digitize the laboratories of tomorrow

04.02.2005


The brewing of tea formed a crucial component of a project which successfully took traditional paper laboratory books and moved them to digital formats. Now that knowledge and experience is being put to use in a subsequent project by University of Southampton computing researchers who are aiming to apply similar techniques to Bioinformatics.

The eScience project, which could revolutionize the way in which scientists share information, is appropriately called myTea. It has received funding of over £200,000 from the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council).

The researchers, from the School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton, and the University of Manchester, will draw on best practice design methods learned from other eScience projects, specifically, their own SmartTea project, which explored how paper-based information from a chemistry environment could be captured in digital forms. They will also refer to the University of Manchester’s myGrid project in order to design an integrated experiment annotation capture system for bioinformaticians.



The initial exploration of the SmartTea project involved finding common ground which would enable the practices of the scientists, as recorded in their paper lab books, to be understood by the computer researchers. ‘This was crucial for us,’ said dr monica schraefel of the School of Electronics and Computer Science at Southampton. ‘In order to help the scientists record their information digitally, we needed to be able to understand exactly how they described what they were doing in their paper lab books, and what aspects of it they recorded.’

After observing a team of chemists at work in the University labs, the researchers hit on the idea of watching the chemists make tea and record it as if it were an experiment, so that the researchers could understand exactly what was happening in the process on the bench as the scientists recorded it.

Because they knew what was happening during the tea-making, they could understand how the scientists chose to record and classify important aspects of the process, or to ignore things that were not important for the “experiment”.’ ‘So now, instead of writing into a lab book, scientists will write into some other type of hardware, like a tablet PC,’ said monica schraefel. ‘That data is immediately written to a server so it is stored not only locally on the computer, but on the server, and therefore immediately accessible outside the lab and to other scientific communities. ’

Armed with this experience, the researchers are now moving on to the field of Bioinformatics. Although the outcome of providing more effectively organized and accessible information is the same, the problems and processes are different.

‘In the Chemistry lab we took the “book” out of the lab to capture lab processes into digital form,’ said monica schraefel. ‘The issue here is the reverse here: bioinformaticians are already all digital, and ironically, that’s the problem: they create hundreds of files spread across their hard drive for an ongoing experiment, but have no easy way to associate files with an experiment. So, this time, we need to put some of the book back into the process, to help automatically generate a lab book-like view of their work to date, which they can annotate, plug into services like myGrid, or share with colleagues. ‘This work addresses one of the central planks of the eScience project,’ she added ‘—to get data from one scientific community out to another, right away, as soon as it happens.’

Joyce Lewis | alfa
Further information:
http://www.smarttea.org
http://www.ecs.soton.ac.uk

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Polymers Based on Boron?
18.01.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production
18.01.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied Science

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

Im Focus: A thermometer for the oceans

Measurement of noble gases in Antarctic ice cores

The oceans are the largest global heat reservoir. As a result of man-made global warming, the temperature in the global climate system increases; around 90% of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Polymers Based on Boron?

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Bioengineered soft microfibers improve T-cell production

18.01.2018 | Life Sciences

World’s oldest known oxygen oasis discovered

18.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>