It’s basically the most important thing in a lab if you want to trust ANY of the results that you get! If you are not clean enough and you get bacterial contamination, than you will analyse what the bacteria is doing more than what the cell is doing!!!
That’s why we also have to do a lot of cleaning before doing experiments, to make sure that we don’t get any contamination
Because I don’t work in a lab, I only have to be as clean and hygienic as you do at school. I will try to add a photo of my desk to my profile tomorrow so you can see what a mess it is. If I got really dirty though I think the girl I share my office with would start to complain about the smell 😉
I would say this is more important for biologists and chemists. In the area of physics I work in, hygiene isn’t particularly important because I’m not working with hazardous materials (like cancer cells) nor am I making anything that will go into people’s bodies (like drugs).
I have to be VERY careful when I go into surgery with my neurosurgeon colleague – the ultrasound probe has to be put into a sterile sheet before it comes into contact with the brain. And because I don’t scrub up (like the surgeons), if I touch even the smallest corner of that sheet with my hand it becomes unsterile and has to be replaced. So hygiene is super important when you have a brain exposed in front of you – the last you want is for an infection to begin after the skull has been replaced.
Being clean and hygienic is very important for my work. For example, I grow cells to do experiments with (this is what we call tissue culture). The liquid the cells grow in contains lots of nice nutrients for them, which means that bacteria also thrive on it. But if I had bacteria growing in my cells, they would use up all the nutrients and it would be bad for the cells, and it would mess up the results of my experiments. So it’s very important that I work cleanly and don’t let my cells get infected with bacteria.