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Chilling Thoughts - bigbumble
June 16th, 2008
07:37 pm

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Chilling Thoughts

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From:robin_june
Date:June 17th, 2008 01:59 am (UTC)
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My workplace, the new Physics Research Building, (the one with no functional distilled water plumbing), has its own liquid nitrogen silo.

My lab uses LN2 frequently for snap-freezing cells & proteins that would be ruined by simply putting them directly in the -80C freezer until tomorrow. But, our dewar is the foot-high, half-foot-diameter, wide-mouth silver glass thermos-type bowl. Try to fill the dewar directly from the silo's spigot, and the LN2 wouldn't stay inside -- the flow is too strong.

Thus, we need to mooch off of the people who have the big containers, that almost as tall as me, and as wide as 4 gas tanks bundled together. The downside is that we can't get to those on weekends or evenings.

Now, my boss is foolhardy brave enough to stick bare skin in the LN2, and count on it not penetrating the layer of moisture to do damage, but me, well, I've actually got other uses for my guitar calluses and fingerpick fingernails, thankyouverymuch. I went to the grocery store and found a pair of metal "wire" tongs with the handle dipped in rubber. These tongs are very handy for the instantaneous-ness required when I grab my sample tubes out of the dewar and sling them into the -80C freezer before the door has been open for longer than 15 seconds and the obnoxious freezer alarm starts screaming. (It hates me. Nobody else in the lab believes me, but it hates me.)

Take care that only tall people are standing at floor level when you dispense into a warm dewar -- that fog always makes me think of pets, children and midgets getting asphyxiated while I wait there to fill my "bucket."
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