For Hope Jahren, the laboratory is a space of safety, comfort, and a symbol of home in its most spiritual sense. Her most beloved memories from her childhood—which was otherwise dominated by a sense of loneliness and frustration—were the late afternoons she spent in her father’s science laboratory at the local community college in small-town Minnesota. She felt both free and in control when she played with the instruments and helped her father prepare for the following day’s class; it was one of the reasons why Jahren ended up studying science in college. As an undergraduate, Jahren took a position as a lab assistant at the University of Minnesota. She proclaims—perhaps hyperbolically—that this job saved her from the terrible fate of having to return to her hometown, get married, and become a stay-at-home mother. All of these early experiences contributed to Jahren’s lifelong dream to run her own lab, just as her father did. And while her first years at Georgia Tech were difficult and money was extremely tight, Jahren found that running her own lab was exactly as fulfilling as she had hoped it would be. She considers her lab a refuge from the stresses of the professional world, and most evenings after tucking her son in, she returns to the lab where, as Jahren herself notes, she uses the other half of her heart.
Labs Quotes in Lab Girl
I started working in a research laboratory in order to save my own life. To save myself form the fear of having to drop out and from then being bodily foreclosed upon by some boy back home. From the small-town wedding and the children who would follow, who would have grown to hate me as I vented my frustrated ambitions on them.
I got out my bike and looked up through the warm, tropical sky, into the terminal coldness of space, and saw light that had been emitted years ago from unimaginably hot fires that were still burning on the other side of the galaxy. I put on my helmet and rode to the lab, ready to spend the rest of the night using the other half of my heart.