[FUN] Dumbest lab experience?

Paul pd1 at mole.bio.cam.ac.uk
Tue Jan 2 10:45:11 EST 2001



One of our lab legends: the undergraduate project student who managed
to destroy one Beckman ultracentrifuge and two (yes two) rotors in one
incident...

I was abroad when this happened so I can't vouch 100% for it but I think it's

pretty much true.

The kid was pelleting something or other and had previously been shown
the use of a SW41 (or similar, I forget the details) rotor.  This occasion,
he
had rather less sample to deal with and was rightly worried about spinning
tubes
that were only half-full.  He asked around and received the suggestion that
he
use the SW55 instead as the tubes were roughly half the size.  This advice
was duly
followed, but only to the extent of hanging the Sw55 buckets on the SW41
rotor.

The rotor must have got up to quite a high speed before the titanium hanging
pins gave
way as the resulting shrapnel shredded rotor, buckets and drive shaft.  The
armour
belt held but the machine was a write-off.  For some reason we couldn't buy
new buckets for the undamaged SW55 mushroom, so it was the end of one
centrifuge
and two rotors.  Ouch.

The moral? Supervise your students properly!

Paul






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