Experiments and Thoughts on Second Place

Rapidly Developing Experiments

The two lab plate experiments I set up on Saturday have already begun to reveal clear results. The mefenoxam sensitivity experiment is showing that the Phytophthora cactorum and P. drechsleri isolates I used in my studies are both highly sensitive to 100 μg/ml mefenoxam on V8 and corn meal agar. The controls with no mefenoxam are showing rapid mycelium growth, while those with mefenoxam are not growing at all.

Evidence that my isolate of Phytophthora cactorum is sensitive to mefenoxam.

Evidence that my isolate of Phytophthora drechsleri is sensitive to mefenoxam.

The 70% ethanol solution soaking experiment shows that my isolates of P. cactorum and P. drechsleri still show mycelium growth on V8 or corn meal agar after one minute of submersion in 70% ethanol solution.

Phytophthora drechsleri (left) and P. cactorum (right) showing mycelium growth after one minute of submersion in 70% ethanol solution.

These are not critical experiments for my dissertation, but they tie up some loose ends. I could get used to running experiments that show results so quickly.

Thoughts on Second Place

Today I learned that I was a runner up for a job I applied for. I don’t know if it is encouraging or disheartening to know that out of all the applicants I was a finalist with one other person, then finished second. When I heard the news my thoughts went to two quotes about finishing second:

“I triumph or I fail. I never strove for any second place.” –George Eliot (Armgart)

“Second place is just the first place loser.” –Dale Earnhardt

I like the sentiment of these quotes. At first it seems they are simply about winning or losing. I see them as more than that. They speak to pursuing goals with intention. Yes, there are times to settle for something less than the ideal. Moral victories can happen. But celebrating a near miss or partial accomplishment may have a dulling effect. In the words of The Most Interesting Man in the World: “Stay thirsty my friends.”


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