HCl Tastes Like Pop Rocks!

Pop Rocks

Today was my first day back in class in for the semester. It was fun and interesting, in a brain melty kind of way. The units I’m studying this semester are a mix of chemistry, OH&S, testing procedures and various lab techniques. I’ve set the Periodic Table as my desktop wallpaper in hopes it might sink in.

The units seem spilt into two categories of students; older people who are retraining and school leavers. I’m stuck in the middle. I spent lunch with two older ladies, they chatted about bad sex and their multiple boyfriends, I nodded at various points while eating my fruit salad and thinking about Protons.

Things I learnt in lab today…

  1. Sucking up Hydrochloric Acid from a pipette with your mouth, instead on using a valve, will cause your teeth to fizz. My lecturer did this back when he was a student.
  2. That the emergency eye wash station isn’t adequate and to use the one in the lab down the hall in an eye emergency.
  3. That we get to play with awesome acidic chemicals soon.
  4. That my bad hard writing and poor memory are traits of a good scientist.

Things I didn’t learn in lab today…

  1. The weird name of the woman who sat next to me, even though she told me it five times. Sounded like Rohypnol.
  2. How we’re meant to find the lab down the hall that contains the proper emergency eye wash station if our eyes are being burnt by chemicals and we’re screaming “fuck, my eyes, they burnnnn!” I’ve never had dangerous lab chemicals come into close proximity with my eyes, but I assume it would be hard to see in that instance.
  3. Why we were forced to endure a lab safety video that was filmed in the 80’s and clearly targeted at high school level or really stupid adults who should never set foot in a lab.
  4. Why Michael Jackson is white.

6 Comments on “HCl Tastes Like Pop Rocks!”

  1. Hmm. You are in a lab without a functioning eyewash? That lab should not be open. At all. And I’m not sure if the lab coordinator should have a job.

    Second, he drew out HCl using his mouth for suction? Wow. Hardcore. And, well, stupid. 🙂 Still, I can’t throw stones. There is a practical reason that Matt’s Lab Rule #1 as a TA was “Hot glass looks like cold glass.” Ah…memories…painful, painful memories.

    Third, if you want a game to learn elements (their names, at least) try this:

    Element Game

    Finally, yeah, I’m a chemist. And a nerd. And I guess it’s dangerous to give me a comment space under a post related to chemistry.


  2. @Matt T.: I’m glad I’m not the only one that seems to find the lack of a functioning eye wash in a lab unsettling. My lecturer said it should be rectified by next week. But this is the same lecturer who sucked up the HCI… 😉

    I was playing the element game last week, I love Sporcles science games, lots of nerdy fun. :mrgreen:

    Feel free to comment any time, Matt.


  3. @Kitta: Thanks, Kitta! Maybe I should start a series of “Matt’s Lab Rules” posts on my blog. Well, Rules and Guidelines and Fun-Fun Activities. Some of which I did, some of which I observed, and some of which I *most certainly* never did, even though they were really fun. No, that other guy over there did them.

    Aww…I miss bench chemistry sometimes. Theory is fun, but there are less flames and pretty colors when you type all day.


  4. OOh yes happy memories of the Periodic Table. going though the table, I found it easer go by classes of chemicals then trying to remember it as a whole.



  5. ahh, the beauty of underfunded science programs.

    Did you get to make sherbet back in high school? I didn’t, but the other class did, so we decided to be ‘cool’ and snort it. Hilarity ensued, especially as it was orange in colour and our noses dripped orange.


  6. When we were kids we were told if we ate Pop Rocks and drank a Coca-Cola we’d explode.

    Re: Michael Jackson… Through the miracle of chemistry, a young black man turns into an old white woman.


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