In Laboratory Notebook, readers are drawn into the heart of a scientific laboratory―or more than one―where scientists, technicians, and students probe mysteries, brew concoctions, and congeal dogma from limited data and occasional flashes of insight.
But beneath the science lies a darker, more complex world, where reason can lose its foothold, where human frailty lies just beneath a smooth, coherent surface.Readers of this collection, especially those who have not trained in a working laboratory, might find the subject matter of these stories―and the descriptions of laboratory science―unfamiliar, even unsettling.
For nearly four decades, I worked in this world. The lab became a home away from home. And I came to realize that the practitioners of science―avowedly dedicated to reason and to the experimental exploration of objective reality―were all too often self-serving and irrational. That is, they were―they are―human.
Initially an unpleasant, even painful, surprise, it was a bit of truth I made peace with―in part by writing out my dismay and indignation. This group of short stories tries to capture such experiences. None of the people described in these stories is real nor have they happened as written. But the seed of each story was sown by an image of something that did happen, either to me, to a colleague or to a friend.