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Posts tagged with "How Not to Do It"

  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: Sodium

    We have a lot of pyrophoric substances in an organic chemistry lab – things that burst into flame when they encounter normal air. Liquids are handled by syringe and needle, using bottles fitted with gas-tight septae. That works pretty well, once you get the hang of it. The main things you have to learn are… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It – Hydrogen Balloons

    I’m not sure if I’ve told this story before – perhaps on my previous blog. The memory is with me so vividly that the retellings run together. I’ve never liked hydrogenation rooms. For my non-lab audience, that’s where we keep the equipment for running reactions in pressure vessels under hydrogen gas, always with some s… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    Our Friend, the Carbon-Aluminum Bond

    “Twenty-five years of being a laboratory chemist, says Gregory Hlatky today, and this is the first time I’ve had an incident.” Hey, maybe he’s been doing the wrong kind of chemistry. Some kinds can almost guarantee you an incident every month or two! Actually, the kind of chemistry he does (organometallics) is already pretty… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    How Not to Do It: Solvent Stills

    Several of us started in on a “stupid lab tricks” conversation at lunch the other day. When chemists get together, we always know that that topic’s available if we run out of things to talk about. Anyone with reasonable organic lab experience has a stock of favorites. One of mine is a fellow grad student… Read More
  • How Not to Do It

    Not Like Law School

    After swapping stories, which some of did again at work recently, you wonder how anyone physically survives their academic chemistry training. Chemists usually come out of their degree programs with a stockpile of good yarns, filed under headings like “Idiotic Lab Explosions” and “Maniacs I Have Worked Next To, And Their Life-Thre… Read More