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Photo courtesy US National Archives

How to get kicked out of lab and have fun doing it

By Derek Baker, October 10 2017 —

The laboratory component can be both the most fun and stressful part of a science class. The practical applications you learn in lab can be more useful than most of the stuff taught in lecture. However, sometimes you’ve just had enough titrating, pipetting and counting microscopic objects for one day. Here are four steps to make your TA recommend you “take a mandatory break” by getting kicked out of lab.

 

Pipette by mouth:

Before the advent of the pipette bulb, it was actually common practice to suck up whatever chemical concoction you needed to measure out into a pipette like a straw. We’ve since regressed, because this method was obviously superior. Give your TA a heart attack by ditching the bulb and pipetting aliquots of sulphuric acid by mouth right in front of them. Who cares if your sample contains some sort of hazardous chemical or bacteria — what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

 

Set the room on fire to sterilize it:

If you’re still concerned about bacteria contaminating you or your samples, fire is your friend. Just like while following aseptic technique when agar plating, douse the whole lab in a thin layer of ethanol and set it on fire with a Bunsen burner. Heck, take a few shots while you’re at it, too. Though your eyebrows might become a little singed, setting the lab ablaze is really the only way to ensure everyone remains safe from harmful pathogens — and you wouldn’t want to be unsafe, would you?   

 

Eat a four-course dinner:

The number-one rule of most labs is usually “no eating or drinking.” However, now that the whole room is sterilized after your little inferno, there is no longer a reason to be concerned that your food could become contaminated if you bring it into lab. Set up an impressive buffet across your lab bench for you and your lab partners to enjoy. Justify the feast as a form of “team building.” Who knows — maybe the friendly gesture will finally stop that “pre-med” jerk from sabotaging experiments because THEY HAVE TO BE NUMBER ONE AND GET INTO MED SCHOOL.

 

Start doing lines of whatever organic molecules you synthesized:

Dinner is done, so now it’s time to have some fun. If you’re in an organic chemistry lab, you already have ample materials to make a few substances to get the party started. Be careful, though — we’re not positive, but this might be considered non-academic misconduct.

This article is part of our humour section.

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