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Organic chem lab horror stories

Otter (3800) writes | more than 7 years ago

GNU is Not Unix 5

Some of these are pretty funny.Some of these are pretty funny.

[W]e were using elemental sodium for some reaction or another...Alledgedly the reaction was done, but another student (I swear, it wasn't me!!), decided to quench it by putting the reaction vessel under the faucet. All of you chemists don't need to have pointed out what happened next: A geyser of flame emitted from the sink drain all the way to the ceiling 20 ft above the floor. What really is fixed in my mind is the TA's reaction. Nonchalantly striding up to the sink, he looked at the panicked student and said: "Doused it with water, didn't we?" and turned to find an extinguisher.

I confess that I once dumped a small bottle of isoamyl acetate down the drain (Hey, it didn't say anything on the label!) and the lab also smelled like "a shipwrecked banana boat" for days.

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5 comments

As my late HS chem teacher would scream... (1)

unassimilatible (225662) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691404)

"Flood the area."

Hated the SOB.

Re:As my late HS chem teacher would scream... (1)

HomelessInLaJolla (1026842) | more than 7 years ago | (#17696020)

HS Chem teacher, anytime something would go wrong: "Mmmmph! How sad."

This is why I did not pursue chemistry very far (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#17691406)

Great at theory, horrible at experiments. I can imagine myself making mistakes that would endanger me and others.

Re:This is why I did not pursue chemistry very far (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 7 years ago | (#17697756)

My wife had that too: great grades in the lectures but, bless her, she was not put on earth to be a bench chemist. I, meanwhile, have good hands, but for the life of me I still have never been able to understand how a buffer works. That orgo lab class was so much fun for me, though.

It could have been worse... (1)

TechnoLust (528463) | more than 7 years ago | (#17698140)

it could have been butanediamine (Putrescine). Mmm... smells like rotting flesh.
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