Chemistry Newsbytes

yorkshire-pudding.jpgThe Royal Society of Chemistry published an experimental procedure for making the perfect Yorkshire pudding. (There are, however, some critical experimental details missing. Oven temp? Amount of milk/water? C'mon don't make us buy them from Marks & Spencer again.) The Times Beryllium fires! Exploding beakers! Lab floods! Share your tales of undergrad (or grad or postdoc or P.I.) labmate disasters. Carbon Based Curiosities Forget about the backyard barbecue. Get a backyard nuclear reactor instead. Guardian Scientists are getting closer to detecting human growth hormone in urine. LA Times RNAi gets a glamorous write up. NY Times The secret to bleach's bug-killing magic. ScienceNOW Do not taunt happy fun ball. Danger Room


  1. Undergrad disasters… Oh geez, where to start? I’ll pick two. 😀

    I was walking by the intro microbiology lab on my way to the research lab, and I stopped by to see how things were going (I had some friends in that particular lab session). The kids were learning how to gram stain. One kid at the other end of the room didn’t turn off the gas before removing the bunsen burner tube from the gas valve, so I assume the flame was still going on top, which somehow caused the gas from the valve on the lab bench to ignite. A hot geyser of flame shot out across the aisle and continued like a flamethrower. Kids were screaming everywhere, but no one was hurt or on fire themselves, and the lab instructor (this was her first year on the job, and only second lab session, I believe) finally went over and turned the valve off.


    The next is a bit of a warm problem, not that hot, and it was actually pretty cold outside. It was the year before, I think, when we had a hurricane – Hurricane Juan. No one knows this guy unless you’re a Maritimer, but hurricanes are very rare in the maritimes (eastern Canada). Since hurricanes aren’t really common, the electric company (yes, there’s only ONE) had a lot of problems handling all the power outages and downed poles and everything. It took weeks to repair everything. So later, when we had a giant blizzard, the same thing happened because the repairs before had been made hastily. So, we lost power again for about four days. Unfortunately, the cold room that media and microbial samples were stored in got up to 22 degrees Celsius during the four days without power (that’s about room temperature). We had to throw everything away. Everything. The stuff in the -80? Most of it went bad. One of the professors moved his stuff into a different -80 in a different building that had a generator, but not everything would fit, so I lost a box or two of samples. The stuff in the incubators? Well, those were mostly okay, actually, but they coulnd’t be used for any research purposes…

    Let’s just say that just four days set back my thesis a whole heck of a lot, but was not the reason I didn’t finish it. 😛

    What self-respecting science building doesn’t have backup generators????