This week, I was traveling around laboratories in the Mid-Atlantic with Associate Editor Carmen Drahl, C&EN intern Aaron Rowe, and ACS Digital Services wizard Kirk Zamieroski to film some footage for C&EN’s YouTube channel. To check out some of the initial cuts of students talking about their research and instruments in the lab, click here.
While I was at the University of Delaware, I happened upon something that seemed out of place for the halls of the Materials Science & Engineering Department through which I was wandering.
I inquired about the swordfish (at right), lashed to the ceiling outside Michael E. Mackay’s laboratories. Inside, the students work on developing nanoparticle-based polymer thin films for solar cells. So you see why I was intrigued by the fish.
Grad student Brett W. Guralnick explained that the swordfish was only a plastic mold of the original catch that Mackay made a number of years ago. The story goes that Mackay’s wife didn’t want it hanging in the house, so he was forced to display it at work—and has carted it around with him as he’s moved from school to school over the years.
In another lab, this one a microscopy facility in the Institute for NanoBioTechnology at Johns Hopkins University, I spotted the eye-safety warning at left.
Both of these items reminded me of this week’s Newscripts article about Albert Padwa, a chemistry professor at Emory University who collects mobiles. They adorn many of the offices and hallways in Emory’s chemistry department because Padwa’s house spilt-eth over.
It’s always nice when scientists show a little bit of personality in and out of the lab. It certainly breaks up some of the tension of research and gives already quirky researchers a tad more character.
Got anything hanging around your laboratory hallways or offices to share? Send me a link here or to the Newscripts inbox at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to start a gallery.
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