I was in the organic chemistry lab this week working on a recrystallization experiment when disaster struck…
I realize that not everyone reading this is as interested in science as I am, but I have to give you just the slightest bit of background so you can better understand my embarrassment. For the lab, we were taking an impure sample of a certain compound and purifying it. To do that, we had to boil the solution, then put it through certain filtering techniques until we could recrystallize the solution without all the impurities that it had before. Now, it takes forever to boil something when you start with a cold sandbath (what we use to heat the container with the solution), so I had been waiting for quite a while. When it was finally putting off lots of vapor (which, by the way, smelled so strong it could literally knock you back), I had to pick up the flask that the solution was in and pour it slowly through a gravity filter that was balancing precariously on another flask. I made a little grip out of paper towels so I wouldn’t burn my hand holding the heated flask and got in position to pour. As I did this, the genius biochemistry professor that was helping us came up and stood next to me to watch me do the procedure. I started to pour, and the situation started to go downhill. As the boiling liquid hit the funnel, it knocked it off-balance. This sent the glass funnel and flask crashing down and spilled the liquid that I had been waiting on for half an hour. Of course, as soon as the liquid hit the desk, it recrystallized and became impossible to use. It also sent boiling water onto my leg (fortunately I was wearing jeans so it hurt less than it would have), and broke all the glassware that I had been using. All of this right in front of Dr. K.
Dr. K was very nice about the whole thing (he didn’t make fun of me… always a plus), but that didn’t change the fact that I had to scoop my little crystals off the desk, throw them all away, and put a new batch on the sandbath.
My week hasn’t been all bad though. I did have an intense molecular biology exam, but it is all being glazed over by the beautiful, cool, fall-ish weather that we’ve had in Jackson, the recent fundraiser called Delta Desserts where $5 buys you all the desserts you could possibly eat without going into a hyperglycemic coma, and the fact that my sorority is having our first swap of the year with one of the fraternities on campus. All things considered, despite the blow to my ego and the burn on my leg from lab, there’s not much to complain about right now. And I hope it stays that way.