In the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic, the luckiest workers have simply been relegated to working from home. And many people have had to find creative ways to turn their home into an office, a classroom, or—in the case of experimental physicists—a makeshift lab.

An episode of the Relatively Certain podcast brings a story of one such physicist—University of Maryland physics graduate student Francisco Salces. Before the pandemic, he was developing a new way to measure how good a microscope is at taking pictures of cold atoms in his lab. At home, he figured out a way to continue his experiment on a shoestring budget, with the help of some questionable online merchandise and lots of duct tape.

Relatively Certain is a production of the Joint Quantum Institute, a research partnership between the University of Maryland and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This episode  was produced by Dina Genkina, Chris Cesare, and Emily Edwards. Music featured in this episode includes Picturebook by Dave Depper, Organisms by Chad Crouch, and Gradual Sunrise by David Hilowitz. Relatively Certain Listen on iTunes(link is external)Google Play(link is external)Soundcloud(link is external), and Spotify(link is external).

Relatively Certain, the Joint Quantum Institute and the Department of Physics do not endorse the products discussed in this episode.