The popularity of computational notebooks heralds a return of software as computational media rather than turn-key applications. We believe this software model has potential beyond supporting just the computationally literate. We studied a biomolecular nano-design lab that works on a current frontier of science — RNA origami — whose researchers depend on computational tools to do their work, yet are not trained as programmers. Using a participatory design process, we developed a computational labbook to concretise what computational media could look like, using the principles of computability, malleability, shareability, and distributability suggested by previous work. We used this prototype to co-reflect with the nanoscientists about how it could transform their practice. We report on the computational culture specific to this research area; the scientists’ struggles managing their computational environments; and their subsequent disempowerment yet dependence. Lastly, we discuss the generative potential and limitations of the four design principles for the future of computational media.