Follow Safety Measures, Please!

Momentary deviation from safety regulations would have costed both eyes of Nobel laureate Karl Berry Sharpless.

Photo by Dustin Tray from Pexels

Laboratory safety measures are there to take care of us, not to discomfort us.

Don’t take off their safety goggles, put off aprons, & remove gloves.

Nobel laureate Karl Sharpless suffered a trauma in the lab, costing him an eye.

In 1970, Karl received an appointment as an assistant professor at the MIT.

He used to take safety measures in the lab as rituals & never take them lightly.

But one day, he unintentionally crossed the boundary only to face consequences.

That day, at the time of leaving the lab, this newly appointed faculty member got intrigued by an experiment of a grad student.

He was sealing an NMR tube at atmospheric pressure, keeping that in liquid nitrogen.

Karl picked it up to see the content in the tube.

Within the moments, he realized the tube contained oxygen under tremendous pressure but it’s too late.

Tube burst & shattered glass fragments penetrated one of the pair of his eyes.

Doctors even considered the fact that Karl’s healthy eye may also turn blind due to an auto-immune response from the body.

Gratifyingly, that didn’t turn out to be the case & the other eye remained healthy.

Lesson? Remain cautious, stay safe in the lab!

Chronicling personal experiences and thoughts on Medium | Aspiring chemist by day | Amateur science writer by night | Say Hi on my blog:

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