Sometimes, when you’re designing an experiment or just trying to lug around a bunch of rocks, science makes you think outside the box. Necessity, after all, is the mother of invention.
Like Department of External Services agent Angus “Mac” MacGyver, scientists around the world are jury-rigging everyday objects into specialized equipment. And this being the digital age, there’s a hashtag for that!
Here are 10 examples of scientists channeling their inner MacGyver with everyday household products, as told by tweets.
Mr. Coffee? More Like Mr. Dirt
Perfect for grinding up soil for carbon and nitrogen analysis. Gets just the right texture. Will only last about 2 months before it burns up, but easily replaceable at this price. Bonus points for not being as loud as a ball mill. #reviewforscience pic.twitter.com/ELlAUwUCMi
— Jeff Atkins (@atkinsjeff) January 30, 2018
Have More Soil to Grind? Try Some Mesh
Great for grinding soils to a fine powder for analysis. Seller said it’s for harvesting trichomes, so it has other lab applications too! Disclaimer: I really thought it meant harvesting trichomes for research & had to be informed otherwise.#reviewforscience #straightedgeproblems pic.twitter.com/Gp1xcnTnJu
— MH Andrews Holmes (@skunkcabbages) January 30, 2018
For Those Arctic “Emergencies”…
The great thing about the wide opening on a nalgene is you can urinate in it should the conditions become to extreme to leave your tent. The downside to this is if you drink while hiking or driving off-road water often pours onto your face ⭐⭐⭐ #reviewforscience pic.twitter.com/BOEDEryA5h
— Dani Rabaiotti (@DaniRabaiotti) January 30, 2018
And Here Are Some Gloves You Can Wear While “Using” the Bottle
Excellent gloves when a surprise April blizzard catches you unprepared while installing PRS soil probes. Also good for insulating cold water bottles, frozen soil cores, and ice packs. Made my hands smell like feet, lack of thumbs did affect handwriting. 4/5 #reviewforscience pic.twitter.com/JIjZgn9mb5
— Cait Rottler (@Caitydid685) January 30, 2018
Storing Sediment Cores
Freezer bags: These bags are extremely durable. They hold a large sediment core (16cm diam, 10cm deep) easily & do not tear when lobbed across the mudflat towards the shore or when tiredly piled in the van after fieldwork.
— Rachel ILoveWorms Hale (@_glitterworm) January 30, 2018
OK, So You’ve Got Your Core. How Do You Clean It?
— Andy Emery (@AndyDoggerBank) January 30, 2018
Speaking of Cleaning…
Signstek Telescopic Golf Ball Retriever #reviewforscience. When wrapped with a few generous layers of #kimwipes, this handy device is perfect for cleaning snow off your tower mounted pyranometer: https://t.co/LK87wKvUpe … pic.twitter.com/Ptayt0qRGT
— Elizabeth Burakowski (@LizBurakowski) January 30, 2018
It’s All About the Festive Colors
just the right diameter for storing tree-ring cores in the field. Paper rather than plastic reduces chances of molding. Festive colors make tedious coring job less tedious. #reviewforscience pic.twitter.com/rYb4mSDgIM
— Valerie Trouet (@epispheric) January 30, 2018
Need to Stay Dry During a Tropical Storm?
The best thing about these trash bags is how well a 5’6″ frog scientist can fit inside to stay dry and warm during a tropical storm. Highly recommended for other similar sized field researchers ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ #reviewforscience pic.twitter.com/ABH6sGNeIx
— Jonathan Kolby (@MyFrogCroaked) January 31, 2018
The Other Kids Won’t Make Fun of You, I Swear
These floaties come in a handy 2-pack and are great for floating temperature sensors in ponds and wetlands- just attach with fishing line! The major con is that they are not resistant to biting by dogs, after which they sink only to lose your sensor. #reviewforscience pic.twitter.com/hBBafcbmKA
— Dr. Julia E. Earl (@Julia_E_Earl) January 30, 2018
—JoAnna Wendel (@JoAnnaScience), Staff Writer