From C&EN’s Aug. 24 issue, here’s a feature that I wrote about the explosion at the University of California, Berkeley, that occurred when a graduate student was transferring a diazonium perchlorate compound out of a porcelain funnel. He was wearing standard prescription eyeglasses rather than protective eyewear, and the funnel fragments shattered his glasses and lacerated his left cornea.
UC Berkeley posted a description of the incident and follow-up actions, and I blogged about that in June. For the magazine story, I
spoke with chemistry professor Dean Toste and UC Berkeley environment, health and safety director Mark Freiberg about what happened and the reasons for the specific responses. From the article:
“It’s not to the student’s benefit if we restrict hypothesis- and curiosity-driven research,” Toste says. “But we have to change the culture so that it’s second nature to always put on safety glasses and other [personal protective equipment] and to check the [standard operating procedure].”