- Spiral-bound: 465 pages
- Publisher: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; Updated edition (November 2, 2004)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0879697083
- ISBN-13: 978-0879697082
- Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 45 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #221,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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At the Bench: A Laboratory Navigator, Updated Edition Updated Edition
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Barker has wisely identified many aspects of laboratory work not usually covered by "conventional" manuals, making her book one of the rarest sources for vital information required for any successful scientist. Overall, the volume is superbly written, and reading is made pleasurable by multiple hilarious remarks from the author. It is highly recommended for anyone working in research -- from undergraduate students to primary investigators, either in academy or industry. In my opinion, this is a "must have" volume for any laboratory.
- The Quarterly Review of Biology
About the Author
Kathy Barker received her B.A. in Biology and English, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Microbiology, from various branches of the University of Massachusetts. She did her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Viral Oncology at Rockefeller University and was an Assistant Professor in the Laboratory of Cell Physiology and Immunology at Rockefeller University. She is now based in Seattle, where she writes and gives workshops on various aspects of running a lab.
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The author uses common sense and a casual style, and assumes that the reader knows nothing. Early chapters explore BASIC basics, like getting along with colleagues, getting started the first week, questions to ask, and safety procedures; lab setup and equipment; and organization.
Later chapters discuss designing and setting up experiments, using a lab notebook, presenting data, making reagents (including storage and disposal) and working in a sterile environment.
Final chapters detail work with eukaryotic cell cultures, bacteria, dna/rna/protein, radioactivity, centrifugation, electrophoresis and a light microscope.
Along the way the reader will learn how to format a journal article, work in a hood or stay in touch with the PI. The only thing missing is library research, but since this is a bench guide that seems a forgivable omission.
[2017 update: Of course the internet is a game changer. Most lab personnel will be using the net not only to research but as a hyperlinked manual. A print lab manual is still desireable imo but should include information regarding online research such as evaluating sources and even hardware maintenance.]
[Apparently this manual was updated in 2004, addressing internet issues and equipment advances. The author updated her companion volume, At the Helm, in 2010. It'd be great if she'd update this wonderful manual as well.]
Spiral bound and formatted for easy access and understandability, the volume concludes with a glossary and a good index. Black and white line drawings and pictures identify items found in labs and illustrate techniques from pipetting to making entries in a notebook.
This is not a textbook written by someone who's never worked in a laboratory; it is a sensible, intelligent guide -- the dream tour you'd like to give each of your technicians/students if you only had the time!
Also handy if a person is having problems and you want to refer them to written material.
Any working lab could benefit from the addition of this volume. Fabulous.
Great reference, though, all around. If you can afford the new version, go for it, but it not, the old version will give you 95% of what you need to know about working in a lab.