One of the awesome things about summer is that Cameron is at camps on campus for much of the time. We get lots of time chatting in the car, we stop for hot chocolate or italian sodas, and I can easily take him in to the lab with me.

Should I have a kid in the lab? Maybe not. But I do insist that he’s calm, and he wears gloves, and he touches nothing without my okay — not even door handles.

So today, as he was impersonating a sponge and picking up information all around, I showed him all kinds of equipment and talked about how they work. Plate readers, the cryostat, fume hoods, ultra centrifuges. But the special treat was when a researcher happily invited him into the worm lab.

Yup, worms. I mean, what else is a boy gonna like?

nematodesThese are nematode worms, not the red earthworms you might think of. They’re around a millimeter or so long, clearish-white and wriggly on small plates of agar. She plunked him in front of a microscope and let him loose with general instructions on how to work it (yes, this was safe, the nematode lab is pretty much the safest place in the whole centre, you could lick stuff in there. Yuck, but you could). He picked up focusing the scope pretty easily, and explored the plate she’d given him, making observations about the worms and eggs. The others in the lab cheerfully interacted with him, explaining what they were doing, why the worms are so interesting, what he was seeing. Why a platinum wire? Why the agar? What is agar? What does this do? He was full of questions, and they were full of answers.

I’m pretty proud of my geeky sciencey little kiddo.


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