Your most craziest experience in lab

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by Lil Ms Sexy Photon, Mar 1, 2003.

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  1. Lil Ms Sexy Photon Registered Member

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    Post your most dangerous, crazy, or embaressing experience in lab.
     
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  3. chroot Crackpot killer Registered Senior Member

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    Once I slipped and fell, and my ballcock went right into this girl's pipette.

    - Warren
     
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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

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    I once had a professor who sent groups of 3-4 students into the laboratory with very general instructions, expecting us to consult refernece books and work without much direction from him.

    One week our assignment was to determine the important characteristics of what he said was either a motor or a generator. I decided that it must be a motor since generators sounded more complicated to understand and I expected them to be studied later in the course than motors. The thing turned out to be a monsterous motor.

    We got some books from the library and discovered the description of tests on motors. One was a zero load test and one was an infinite load test.

    The zero load test was easy. Hook up an ampmeter, voltmeter, et cetera. Plug the motor into a source of electricity and make measurements with no load on the motor. We did that test with flying colors.

    The infinite load test led to embarassment and trouble. We noticed a long 4X4 beam with a hinged clamp on one end. It looked like it was intended for use in the infinite load test. It could be used to prevent the rotor from turning. We locked it on the rotor and turned on the power, ready to read our instruments. We had overlooked a footnote that described using about 1/1000 of the normal power for this test.

    We did not pay attention to which way the rotor turned and almost got clobbered by the 4X4 when it swung 180 degrees and walloped the floor. At this point the motor stopped dead. We noticed a open switch on the wall and remembered a sound from that direction. I went over and closed the switch. The motor groaned a bit, the switch opened, and the motor stopped. I decided that the switch was loose or flakey and held it closed.

    All the lights went out in the entire building. It was a circuit breaker, not a switch. The engineer in charge of the campus power plant arrived shortly there after and told us o=about the purpose of circuit breakers, mutteing about the stupidity of college kids who should have keepers in white coats to look after them.
     
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  7. spacemanspiff czar of things Registered Senior Member

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    i recall a funny one.

    so I was working in a lab that does fMRI brain imaging. I've assisted with the scan about a dozen times so i pretty much know the drill. the subject has arrived and the postdoc is going over the consent forms with her while i'm working on some stuff on the computer. Now we go over certain things with the subject before they go in, like remove all metal, and to make sure they have no medical problems.

    so the postdoc(woman) and the subject(woman) are chatting and all of a sudden i over hear "so why don't you take off your bra". and i'm just beside myself. did i really hear that? and is she gonna do it? what the hell is going on? am I dreaming?

    so the subject goes off to the bathroom to remove her bra and i ask the postdoc what's going on and she informs me that the underwire in bras can sometimes screw with the magnet. so aparently everything was on the up and up. and i thought maybe it was going to be a very fun scan.

    oh well

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  8. Mike H Registered Member

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    Some assorted tales...

    *************
    My old lab (which was located on the third floor of the building) had a collaborator whose lab was right below us on the second floor. I had been running some EPR experiments earlier that day with a sample they had provided the material for and it was totally contaminated with EPR active Cu(2+) with the distinctive spectral signal. Anyway, I wandered down there after finishing up work to say hi to a friend and she asked me how my EPR had gone that day.

    Me: "I saw a huge copper impurity which drowned out the iron signal."

    Her: "Wait, what do you mean you saw the copper? How did you see it?"

    Me (feeling snarky): "I have x-ray vision and literally saw all the copper in the sample."

    An exchange she'd rather forget.

    *********

    My organic chem lab TA used to show up to lab seriously hungover on more than one occasion. One time, he even showed us how to make LSD on paper. I don't think anyone actually tried it, but am not totally sure.

    *********

    Another amusing tradition in my old lab was dry ice juggling. Whenever we'd get samples in the mail from outside collaborators, we'd put away their stuff in deep freeze and spend the rest of the day juggling the dry ice that was shipped along with it to cool the sample.

    Also, I had a habit of getting someone's coffee cup, tossing a few chunks of dry ice in there, and filling it with hot water to put it on their lab bench. It was always fun to watch, even when they weren't there.

    **********

    As we had cryogenic liquid helium systems for doing low temperature EPR studies, we of course had to do the standard "inhale and speak" where we imitated one another mercilessly. Daffy Duck imitations were our other stock in trade besides EPR spectroscopy and laser spectroscopy.

    **********

    Me filling liquid nitrogen dewars in sandals and shorts. I never spilled any on myself, thankfully.

    **********

    Have yet to have any interesting experiences in my new labs (although one is a theory group, will probably have some entertaining computer stories out of it, though).
     
  9. pumpkinsaren'torange Registered Senior Member

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    :bugeye: ....ya don't say....
     
  10. Kunax Sciforums:Reality not required Registered Senior Member

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    more
     
  11. Neville Registered Senior Member

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    Lab. time usually involved playing with the Bunsen (spelling

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    ) burners and sometimes involved heating people bums when they were concentrating on their experiments

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    (or burning my hair

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    ) . For me chemistry consisted of applying the Bunsen to a range of objects (biro's etc) and seeing if they actually catch fire or if they just melt.

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  12. techstuf Registered Senior Member

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    send in the clones...

    I guess you could say my craziest lab experience was when they applied the right voltage to my heart after my synthesis was complete......and well, here I am. Beside myself.
     
  13. Neville Registered Senior Member

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    Your now beside yourself?!!

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    Now that was a crazy lab experience

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    .

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  14. youngbiologist Registered Senior Member

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    a simple accident

    back when I was a total lab monkey newbie(about a year ago) I was preparing media and was having trouble getting the dry components to mix. So I stick in a mixing bar, and then heat it up and spin it. Only thing is by the time the solids had dissolved the mixture was pretty much at boiling temp. Basically I had this big volcano of media spewing out of a large 2 liter flask. On the plus side, if you waite the agar will solidify and you can just peel the mess up. Was talking to a cute girl when the thing erupted too.

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    Also liquid nitrogen is hella cool, it just is damnit! However we don't want to get in trouble for breaking stuff so its always a bit of a dare to see whos willing to freeze what without getting in trouble.
     
  15. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    Here's mine:

    I took an evening biology class in school and all my classmates were either in their 40's or auditing on account of their being seniors. Naturally I was the smartest in the class - so i thought. They all put me up on this nice little biology pedestal and I ate it all up. They asked me questions. Built up study groups around me. I started cutting teacher's sentences short, coming in real busy looking ....you know, "smarting".

    Then came lab.
    Everyned ran to be in my group.
    I became group leader.
    Assignment: Simulated dissections.

    I went and got our computer, plugged it in and pulled out the keyboard. Turned on the monitor. But the damn thing was not working. I said maybe there was something wrong with (intimidating computer jargon). My whole group was looking at me like lost puppies. Surely, gendanken knows what she's doing, doesn't she. I dropped more computer lingo to show how smart I was and faked a Ctrl+ALT+DELETE. I was faking it.
    The teacher, who already didn't like me and really didn't like me at this point, came in, pushed me aside, and turned the tower on.

    I felt incredibly, incorrigibly stupid.
     
  16. Fortuna Registered Senior Member

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    Embarassing Experience

    Well, my experience is about the opposite of the one posted previously, I was in the OC masters program with mostly younger people, in my early 30s at that time doing my continuing education. I had already been working in labs professionally in the industry and was experienced at tests, mainly for QC procedures. To me the stuff we were learning and doing in this class was not very challenging. ( Also, I constantly blew the curve much to the chagrin of the younger students.).

    In the lab part of the program, I was the only woman in the lab, and we were divided into 2 groups of 4, myself and 3 other young men in my group. Like I said, being very experienced in the lab, me this was simple stuff, I sometimes had a rather non-chalant attitude and got a little cocky when it came
    to lab procedures. I mean Geez, I'd already been doing this professionally for years, and to me the colleges equipment was medieval by comparison to what I was accustomed to using.

    Anyway, I was about to re-learn an old lesson about lab safety.

    Anyway, as part of one of our assignments, we were doing some vacuum reflux with some glacial AA. Our procedure was over, and, being in a hurry to get out of there, I started to break down the packed reflux column.

    Anyway, as I took the column apart, and picked it up, about 5-10 ml of gAA spilled out right on the chest pocket of my lab coat. It started to burn, and I immediately stripped off the lab coat.

    Still burning, I next stripped of my blouse. By this point, the guys were frantic and starring and trying to help me.

    Well, I could still feel the burning, so, I stripped off my brazier, ran to the wash station, bent over the sink and pouring water over my chest.

    So, there I stood, naked from the waist up, pouring water on my chest and drying it with paper towels.

    The guys in the lab were all beet red, staring, some of them frantic, and the others staring with their jaws on the floor.

    "Ok, that's better, I said, I got it all". I turned to my lab partners (still naked from the waist up), and asked them if they saw any red marks. "Does my skin look ok?", I asked, as I faced them frontally ?

    Not a one of them said a word, they all just had these blank stares on their faces, their jaws open. (You'd think they'd never seen a woman's chest before, several of them probably hadn't ).

    Anyway, from then on, I lost the cocky attutude, and always was very much more careful.

    I also got some nice compliments from my lab partners the next week at lab, and some of the other group wanted to trade places with my lab partners.

    Lesson - always remember and follow safety procedures, and when using a packed column, always shake it a bit to before disassembly to help drain any the excess liquid back down into the flask.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2003
  17. gendanken Ruler of All the Lands Valued Senior Member

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    It would be hella funny if that stuff you spilled turned out to be only alchohol.

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  18. Infidel Registered Member

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    I was responsible for disposing of waste at an environmental lab, although I didn't know a lot I knew more than most of the people there so I was chosen. Since we had a waste stream defined "acidic waste" I figured this would be a good place to dispose of a bunch of leftover acid from a closed sister lab. I started filling a 55 gallon poly drum with acid, HNO3, H2SO4 and HCl. At about 2/3 full an acrid orange smoke began boiling out of the drum and the poly was starting to melt around the bung hole, luckily I was outside.

    People were starting to choke a little bit and I couldn't really get too close to it so I went in and asked our ops mgr what was going on. He figured I had just whipped up about 30 gallons of aqua regia

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    . I quickly put on a gas mask and topped the drum off with water to settle every thing down.

    That was pretty exciting for a while
     
  19. Closet Philosopher Off to Laurentian University Registered Senior Member

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    In grade 11 biology, I had to dissect a heart. When it came time to stick the scalpel in the heart, i shoved it in, and the heart sprayed fermaldohyde(sp?) all over my 2 lab partners and the 3 people at the table across from my group, and it also hit the teacher in the face that was helping the group across from me find all the arteries. My school unifroms involved white golf shirts, and the clotted blood also went everywhere. It was a sight to see. The bloody fermaldohyde hit everyone around me, except me, it happened to miss, but I got a few chunks of heart in my pencil case....

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    Last edited: Apr 2, 2003
  20. LordAza Quantum Freak! Registered Senior Member

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    Ahhh i remember early when i was in high school and in chemistry class. We were currently working with sodium metal in an experiment. We were told to take a small piece and introduce it into a vial. Naturally none of us knew what was going to do. its a good thing we had goggles on because glass shards were found everywhere after we placed a piece the size of a quarter into beaker full of water and stopped it.

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  21. ElectricFetus Sanity going, going, gone Valued Senior Member

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    Burning a hole in a slice of baloney with a YAG laser class 4.
    Why? To see if the laser could burn and cut stuff, sweet! We never managed to burn a hole just a burn mark, it did make a great snapping noise every time the laser pulses.

    next up...

    Taking the fluorescence spectra and decay profile of diet coke.
    Why? Why not? Because I always wanted to, there you happy?
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2003
  22. w00t i'm with stupid Registered Senior Member

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    Having to take over 50+ readings during a pendulum experiment... Drove me crazy:bugeye:
     
  23. Automan Mostly harmless. Registered Senior Member

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    Dexter's Laboratory

    12, built a surprisingly powerful laser in my garage/geniass lab. Was having fun burning various ceramic targets and was called for dinner. My arc-welding visor fell on the time-switch, Laser came back on. It burned through the garage door, went between the front grills of the car and put a nice little hole in the engine block, to the left of the radiator. To this day my dad and Audi haven’t figured it out. And I learned something about midnight filling and respray of garage doors. Just as well the car was there, I might have been done for manslaughter if it wasn't blocking the beam….

    Blasted another hold in the garage door with a 1cm ball-bearing from a home-made EM railgun 2 weeks later. First time I ever experienced cold sweat, the new car had just pulled out of the driveway...

    Was visiting and Intel cleanroom once and sneezed on something VERY expensive, they never found out either. No more details on that one.

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