One problem with buying two identical fridges is how do you tell them apart. Well, one simple way, a long tradition in cryogenic labs, is to name your cryostats, you know, like ships. This process is not going too well so far in our group, and I take full responsibility.
Well, it did not help that fridges came from Leiden Cryogenics with creative names like Frolov1 and Frolov2. It is of course not an unreasonable idea to name fridges after famous physicists, for example Sheldon and Leonard, but who is going to want to work in a theorist-fridge? (Keep in mind the terrible Pauli effect)
Neither did it help that the fridge labeled “2” arrived first. That created a lot of confusion as in -Which fridge are we talking about? The first one, you know – that arrived the second… For a while they were called Left and Right, but of course that depends on the point of view… They were also called ‘Vector’ and ‘Solenoid’ after the kind of magnet that they had, until the magnets got swapped. And it became a nightmare. The second fridge, you know the vector, I mean solenoid, the one that used to be a vector and that arrived the first and so it is called the second.
To make things absolutely clear, people started saying ‘The fridge that is closer to the pink box’ as opposed to ‘the one in the center of the lab’. But the pink box has wheels, and this is not an elegant naming system at all. One of my students proposed ‘Ying’ and ‘Yang’ as in the opposites that somehow attract and coexist, but it gave me the wrong feeling to have metaphysical forces acting on delicate scientific equipment.
So. I have to make a decision. I will call one of them Narwhal, because of the top-loading probes that stick out like a tusk of a narwhal.
And the other one shall be called… Narwhal2? Oh boy, here we go again.