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Was my grad school experience that different from everybody else's?

In Jeff Johnson's article "University Lab Accident Under Investigation" in C&EN ( he discusses that CSB will be investigating an accident in which a student"received severe burns and lacerations to his face and hands when a mixture of nickel hydrazine perchlorate exploded...." He then goes on to quote the Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board (CSB), Chairman John Bresland who reportedly said, "how could this happen in an academic lab environment?"

Part of the reason I left grad school without a PhD was that I'd been spoiled by working in industry.  I had a lot of difficulty tolerating the lack of any real guidance or supervision, the political infighting, and the utter disregard for safety.  Has this man never been to an academic lab?

When I read the quote I laughed out loud.  I mean, how could this _not_ happen?

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Re: Was my grad school experience that different from everybody else's?

I would have to agree that most of the lab work going on in the academic setting for graduate students in unsupervised. It is assumed that they know what to do as far as safety is concerned. I was lucky because I had interned at DuPont as a high school student so I understood safety in a laboratory environment when I was in graduate school. 

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