Ah, it appears that I might be the first dayloger of the day! Huzzah! In that case, I must provide something entertaining and worthy of the #1 spot, here goes...
Another day, another 1/7th
of the WEEK OF HELL. As though it weren't bad enough that The most perfect woman in the world betrayed me
this week, now I have to deal with a laboratory explosion
. That's right, explosion.
I'm a TAMS
student, and was offered the opportunity to do research over the summer and took it. I work in the Chemistry Department of the University of North Texas
, nanotech research under Dr. Teresa Golden. And it just so happens that on this day, she had a few visitors. So, to entertain them, she requests that I and Adam Horch (a lab coworker and one year my senior) put together a demonstration
with a lot of flashes and whatnot. So we decide that amongst several other experiment
s, we'll give a little show with liquid Oxygen.
We've performed this same demonstration many times in the past, with no error. The standard procedure:
#1 - Make liquid Oxygen by running the gas through a still with liquid Nitrogen surrounding the pipes to cool it.
#2 - light matches and things on fire over, near, and in the liquid Oxygen so as to show how much faster combustion occurs with it.
#3 - Finale: Spray methanol on the liquid Oxygen and light a match near it creating a purple flame and a loud *POP!* which would be contained by the glass beaker.
Well, everything went according to plan... except the part about it being contained. For some reason, we believe it to be faulty glass, the rapid oxidation
of the methanol produced a slightly larger than desired show. The beaker was shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces and propelled in all directions. I was peppered with glass, and it felt like a million little paintballs railing my chest. The explosion was loud enough that it took about 5 minutes for my hearing to return.
I was lucky, and virtually unscathed minus a nick to my neck and stomach. The prof I work under, however, now had a three inch laceration
to the neck and a gash in her forehead and was bleeding horribly. Two of the spectators took terrible shoulder injuries and the rest got out with minor damage.
911 was dialed and paramedics
arrived shortly. Even though I was virtually spotless, they insisted I follow to make sure I had no glass in me. Oh yes, and while there, one of the paramedics decided to snatch my Baretta
pocket knife (the skeleton knife style, silver and steel, about $125) and keep it for his own...
After spending an HOUR in a hospital room I didn't need to be in, I was released and sent home. My parents were worried to death, of course, because they had been called and told "Your son has been in an accident and we need permission to treat" and nothing more. "Treat" meant clean my tiny cut with alcohol
and put a Band-aid
The story hit the newspapers this morning (I always node according to server time, so it was actually on Friday the 28th
that the story printed) and was, of course, highly inaccurate. They depicted a lab
in which "a tank of liquid oxygen was being heated over an open flame" which any scientist knows is dumb as all hell.
So now our department will surely be under heavy watch for a few weeks, and to help matters, my highly intelligent (sarcasm very much laid on there) coworkers decided to freeze a grasshopper
(LIVE) in liquid Nitrogen
today - in front of the boss. I still wonder why I haven't quit...