All major campuses around the country have major product/vendor shows every few months. Here companies big and small, from Invitrogen and Sigma to little-unknown-biotech all have their tables and flyers and product displays of the latest and best in lab technology.
But what's hilarious is that most of us scientists are such loser dorks that what attracts us most to the displays aren't super-efficient pipette displays, but bouncy stress relieving squeeze balls, fluorescent orange pens, permanent markers that have caps and tips on both ends, and the lure of the odd T-shirt. We're like kids in a candy store.
That, and the attraction of free food. Nothing can bring together a bunch of graduate students and postdocs better than tables filled with donuts, cookies, bagels or more.
There I was, bright and early this morning, lining up to collect my supply of utterly useless items, and gawk at freebies. I ended up with about a dozen pens, a floaty for eppendorf tubes, a weird box to keep "suff" in, and a T-shirt (yes! I will advertise anything for free).
And then there was the highlight of my day. I got the most fascinating freebie of them all, a ball point pen that has a transparent liquid gel at the other end, filled with little floating balls, and a little on-off switch that turns on an led that changes colors.
Life couldn't be better.