Thursday, July 09, 2009

We need more papers like this.

Somehow I had missed this paper when it came out on the arxiv last November, but I came across it the other day while looking for something else in the literature. It's all about the challenges and hazards of trying to measure magnetization of either tiny samples or those with extremely small magnetic responses. Some of the cautions are rather obvious (e.g., don't handle samples with steel tools, since even tiny amounts of steel contamination will give detectable magnetic signals), and others are much more subtle (e.g., magnetic signatures from Kapton tape (due to dust! I learned about this one first hand a few years ago.) and deformed plastic straws (commonly used as sample holders in a popular brand of magnetometer)). Papers like this are incredibly valuable, and usually hard to publish. Still, I much prefer this style, writing a substantive, cautionary paper that is informative and helpful, to the obvious alternative of writing aggressive comments in response to papers that look suspect to you. The paper is so good that I'm even willing to forgive them their choice of font.


Peter Armitage said...

They wrote the WHOLE THING in comic sans?!!! .... I'm not sure any amount of meticulousness and careful exposition of their methods could make up for that. What are they? 9? My daughter has already outgrown comic sans and she's only 4 months onld ...

Uncle Al said...

Polyolefin plastics run ~tonne product/gram catalyst. The homogeneously dispersed transition metal contaminant is thereafter ignored. Consider sub-micronized dusts from automobile catalytic converters,

The Analyst 123 451 (1998

Jetsam rich with platinum, palladium, rhodium, and other desperate efforts of car manufacturers bending the limits of technology to Enviro-whiners' paper whims have replaced moderately harmless hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions. Heavy transition metal contamination is everywhere, including Arctic ice.

Mean Pt in precious metals workers' blood: 1263 pmol/liter. Mean Pt in highway maintenance workers' blood: 744 pmol/liter.