• Question: have you ever been injured during science?

    Asked by whalefish to Tom on 21 Jun 2010 in Categories: .
    • Photo: Tom Hartley

      Tom Hartley answered on 21 Jun 2010:

      No. I am a pretty risk averse person, and the riskiest thing I do is work with a very powerful magnet in the MRI machine. We are very careful about who goes into the room with the scanner in it (usually I don’t need to go in), and especially careful that they don’t take any metal in with them (or have metal implants in their bodies). There are a couple of other less obvious risks we look out for (for example, some makeup contains metal, and bras often contain wire). As you might guess the main danger is that any metal would be picked up and accelerated across the room with incredible force. Metal wires etc. can also heat up and cause problems with the quality of the data.

      The only other dangerous thing I’ve done involved using poisonous and cancer-causing chemicals in the biology lab when doing practicals as part of my degree. Again, we were trained to be very careful with these and wore protective lab coats, glasses etc. and where appropriate fume cupboards when handling them.

      So nothing bad happened.