The human female’s Prep Staff and the Teaching Assistants spend an inordinate amount of time trying to train the students to take proper care of the expensive equipment the labs are stocked with. I spend a not inconsiderable amount of my time going around behind them and teaching them all my bad habits.
Pipettors, now. Those are practically my stock and trade these days. I haven’t actually counted how many the students have manhandled out of alignment or flat out broken. They absolutely do keep trying to abrogate the laws of physics and put 1800 microliters in a pipettor that holds 200 to 1,000.
And behold the fine job they have done with this one:
They’ve discombobulated this one so thoroughly that the numbers no longer align! That little beauty is going to have to have a little vacation and a nice trip back to the manufacturer to see if it can’t be cured of its dialular scoliosis. There’s another few that have been over-dialed so much that the piston-plunger has come right out and the pipettor is in two pieces. I’d show you the photos because I love them dearly and shall treasure them always, but they’re just too gruesome. This is a marginally family-friendly blog, after all.
And then there are the microscopes. Expensive, heavy, AND delicate, the trifecta of accidents waiting to happen. The students insist on stealing eyepieces, using the coarse focus with the higher magnifications and ramming the objectives into the slides, smearing the focusing oil all over the lab when using the 1,000x magnification, tying the cords in knots, and putting them back oh, so improperly.
How should a microscope be put away? The checklist goes something like this: Remove the slide. Rotate the nosepiece so that the low power objective (the shortest one) is in position. Raise the stage, fold the cord neatly and tuck it between the stage and the light, and then lower the stage. Cover the scope and then put it into the cabinet front-first and hand-hold facing out so that when the cabinet doors are shut they don’t slam into the eyepieces.
Now, all that sounds much more complicated than it actually is. A toddler, if he could somehow heft one of the heavy things, could do it. I’ve convinced the college students, however, that it’s just too much trouble, so the human female and her staff are confronted with scenes like this:
That is stunning. I’m not even sure how they got that in there! The cord’s under the stage, all right, but this uncovered mess has one of the long objectives still rotated into place. And then there’s the placement! Whoever put this away transcended backwards and opted for sideways and SLANTY! I sort of want to track this person down and shake their feckless little hand.
And wait–there’s more! There’s a bonus! My new favorite person has left the last-viewed slide in place.
Well done, anonymous student! Well done.