Will I explode the lab?

aloisia schmid a-schmi at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu
Thu Mar 21 20:09:44 EST 1996

Dear Fky-people,

        A few days ago I asked if there was an easier way of sharpening
tungsten needles, which I use to hand de-chorionate embryos.  I had been
using an electric current with a sodium nitrite solution;  this set-up is
in another building and involves something of a hassle to have to go use. 
Four people responded and all four told me that I could melt sodium
nitrite over a bunsen burner and that would work well.  They also warned
me to wear goggles as the hot sodium nitrite spritzes.  So I went over to
our chemical store-room and bought the necessary chemistry stuff  (which
was really fun!) and did it and it worked wonderfully well!    Ecept that
when the PI whose apparatus I normally borrow saw all of this, he said,
"Are you MAD?  You could have blown us all to kingdom come!  That stuff
'll kill ya'!"

        Unfortunately, I didn't save the four kind responses, so I thought
i would ask about this, especially since my boss just saw the bunsen
burner and the goggles and the crucible with molten sodium nitrite in it
and asked another post-doc in the lab what this was all for, and since the
inevtiable "she almost blew us up" came into the conversation, I thought
it might not be a bad move to ask this more pressing q uestion, "Am I
really risking the lab and its assorted personel by sharpening my tungsten
needles this way?"  

        I guess the real question is, will I cease and desist even if it
turns out to be true?  It was awfully fun!

Alice Schmid

Aloisia Schmid
Howard Huges Medical Institute/Morrill Hall
University of Illinois
505 S. Goodwin Ave, 618 Morrill Hall
Urbana, IL 61801
Email: A-schmi at ux1.cso.uiuc.edu

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