My other Master in Analytical Chemistry

This is not the first time I share the acknowledgements of a master—nor my first master, as the title reflects. In these social media times people love being referred to publicly. Let them enjoy this.

Acknowledgements

It’s funny how you’d always spend time you could use to write your master’s project to add a section to mention the culprits of your confinement in a laboratory for a year, when you could have been travelling and frequenting clubs, where meeting someone with means to support you wouldn’t be that difficult.

Then someone comments it could’ve been worse, you could’ve had to suffer some subject repeated from your degree or badly organized and find a couple of lazybones who earn more than they teach among the real vocational professors. Lucky you. And here’s a honourable mention to the master’s coordinator for her patience in our e-mail tennis match—similar to that students would have shown in the event of those hypothetical lazy professors.

Anyway, it’s yourself the one to blame for deciding to give in to this fate. The rest are confinement colleagues who make the experience bearable and hence the acknowledgements. It´s not like me, nevertheless, to make value judgements, so I’ll stick to the facts without pointing out the good, the bad or the ugly—not that there’s a lack of material for any of the categories.

Going back to the beginning, all matter was concentrated in a spot, even the one that would form me; that might be too far back, though. About 13,800 million years later, I decided to study chemistry, which lead me to meet the two Sílvias, who encouraged me to enrol the experimental master. There I met yet another Sílvia, who put me in contact with the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC)

At the CSIC, I had an interview with Ethel. Two years from that she sent me an e-mail starting ‘You might not remember me’. Fortunately, the subject made it clear she wanted to make business; otherwise I’d have thought that message was motivated by the memories of my charming smile.

Be as it may, I received that e-mail the day before leaving on a 41-day route around Europe and we discussed it on the phone during my trip. How could I turn down the offer of a contract and a master’s degree on pollutants in dolphins followed by a PhD? However, I must admit that what convinced me was the promise of a visit to the dolphins someday. Therefore, should they not honour their word, I’ll have to delete all the registers of my work and take my dignity somewhere else.

In the laboratory, I also had the invaluable collaboration—for sometimes he’s not worth it—from Cayo. During my first week and some other day he guided me through the experimental methodology on an unprecedented effort, not because of teaching me, but because of him coming early in the morning when I arrived.

Also, I’ll never forget that Joan crossed the Iberian Peninsula just to provide me with the extra amount of sample I needed. I won’t because, to start with, it wasn’t like that. He just happened to be coming to Barcelona when I asked for the samples. He deserves some credit, nonetheless for searching in the warehouse. On addition to that, he supported me statistically; although that doesn’t count since he used my pen all the time to label his tubes.

The time has come for the populist bit where people arguably relevant to my research, but present at some point in the process are mentioned.

I could talk about my lab mates, who do help you find material or use the equipment. However, in the end they only keep you company and amuse you on the boring days or at lunchtime… Trivialities.

Finally, there’s the class mates—post-adolescents who, far from care for my evolution as a scientist, entertained me with festive nocturnal social events. On top of that, they would leave early and leave the closure of the acts to me. By the way, regards to my Basque kuadrilla.

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