What happens if somebody messes up in lab...

source: me

What happens? Why, huge scientific breakthroughs, of course!

Example: a guy was working on advanced ceramics, and he accidently spilled his beer in the powdered ceramic. The bubbles worked with the ceramic to create a lightweight ceramic brick called beerite.

Example 2: Alexander Graham Bell spills a nasty chemical on himself and calls out for Watson, who hears it on the newly-invented phone.

It seems that half of the discoveries are from scientists doing hard theoretical work, and the other half happen because of dumb luck or accidents.

Everybody seems to have a story about sodium, and I do too, or at least I think it was sodium. I didn't do any chemistry past year eight, so I'm not a chemicalologist and my memory's pretty shot as well. Anyway, as the teacher told it:

There was a kid with red hair in the class who, in the tradition of children being cruel was tormented with "red dog" and "Ya hair's on fire!". Anyway, the teacher was showing the students how sodium reacted when put in a petrie dish full of water (You know, fizzing around and stuff). Apparently, the teacher had put in too much, and some came out of the dish and landed on the unfortunate boy's head. He didn't notice at the time, and when a friend pointed out that his hair was actually on fire he shrugged it off as another act of maliciousness, until a few minutes later when a fire extinguisher was pointed at his head.

This is the same teacher whose friend once stole a large chunk of sodium to throw into the sea and observe. The sodium was in a plastic bag which didn't split, and remained on the surface, gently bobbing. The guy didn't want some little kid finding it and getting blown up, so he retrieved it and managed to convince a seagull to ingest it, whereupon the bird became a shower of bird-bits. Rougevert also reminds me that someone once stole some and blew up a seagull on the school oval.

I have an experience of messing up in a lab, although it is not to do with chemicals or things related exclusively to a laboratory. In year seven, I had to plug something into a power point. In Australia, we run a 240V system with on/off switches where the sockets are. The on/off switch had somehow come off on the socket I was attempting to power up, so I thought in a know-it-all year seven way, that I could stick my finger in and trip whatever the external plastic switch was attached to.

I was shaking for the next hour or so, and now my left hand shakes when I hold an object a certain way, as does my left leg when I operate my clutch pedal at a certain angle.

Tally Ho thinks I may be talking about potassium, but he says he ain't no scientologist neither.

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