• Question: Have you ever injured yourself in an experiment?

    Asked by evilevo to Dalya, Derek, Sarah, Tim, Tom on 14 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Tim Millar

      Tim Millar answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Not yet fortunately as there is a very great risk of infection with the human tissue I use. I have seen some things go wrong in labs though with gas cylinders and bits of glass flying around, but fortunately, these are quite rare.

      We try and work very safely because there are great risks from chemicals, radiation and infection in all we do. We try to contain infectious agents in cabinets which protect the worker and wear lab coats and gloves all the time. There are strict rules in the lab, so we try and follow them all.

    • Photo: Dalya Soond

      Dalya Soond answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I cut myself once -it just needed a plaster. And once I was thinking so hard about an experiment, that I collided with somebody (who was reading and walking at the same time as well!) and was knocked out for a short while.

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      Yes. Never ever touch your face while you are wearing gloves!! I got an itchy chin in the lab once and I rubbed it when I was wearing gloves and I ended up with acid burns on my face and a ginormous brown scab on my chin. It was horrendous!!

    • Photo: Tom Crick

      Tom Crick answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      No, I’ve been quite lucky. Maybe lifting equipment, but most of my experiments are theoretical or run on hundreds of computers!

    • Photo: Derek McKay-Bukowski

      Derek McKay-Bukowski answered on 14 Jun 2011:

      I’ve been hurt several times.

      Some have been pretty trivial, such as mildly-burnt fingers from a soldering iron. A few minor cuts, scrapes, bruises and blisters. That sort of thing.

      But some have been more serious. In an optical lab, I once got hit in the eye by the beam of a cadmium-laser. I’ve been struck and cut in the face by a flying piece of timber on an antenna construction site. I’ve also received two nasty high-voltage electric shocks while trying to fix a faulty telescope control system.