UCLA Professor Charged in Death of Researcher

December 28, 2011 by Gabe | [mmd] |

Frightening story from ChemBark.com

My graduate work was done in synthetic organic chemistry. This story is particularly close to me since I too have been engulfed in flames caused by t-Butyllithium. I was not seriously injured but I can tell you that few lab workers are properly trained to handle the incredibly dangerous materials required to earn an advanced degree in organic chemistry. While I was on fire, not a single person present (there were at least 3 people) knew where the proper extinguisher was located or how to use it. I had the presence of mind to walk (while I was on fire) to the extinguisher for pyrophoric metals, pull the pin, turn it on myself and pull the handle for 5 seconds.

I think this case has a good chance of changing the way things are done in academic labs. It's sad that someone had to die and my heart goes out to Sheri Sangji's family and friends.