(Visible) scars of chemistry

Another mark of the chemist?Mitch’s post showing the video of “the mark of the chemist” reminds me of one of the most visible remembrances I have of graduate school: the scar on one of my middle fingers (see left.)

On a lovely Saturday in the lab (my music playing, no one else around), I dropped a Dewar flask from a shelf onto the lab bench. Along with the pop that announced its destruction, I saw that my finger was bleeding. My adviser brushed off my protestations that I was fine with “[CJ], you’re bleeding all over the floor.” He was right and off I went to the campus health center.

It’s been at least 6 years since I’ve had the scar. It’s healed, but left the interesting black mark that you see and a lump that I suspect may be embedded glass. But when I think about chemistry and potential dangers that I could face, all I have to do is look down at my hands.

UPDATE: The Curious Chemistry Grad Student shows off a couple nice burns.


  1. You know, I’m sure there are better scars out there. E-mail me pics, if you can.

  2. I have the so-called “mark of the chemist” on my left palm.

    My friend has the so-called mark of Mn2O7 on his arm from several years ago, remaining as a nickel-sized crater.

  3. nice…..visit my blog too….please

  4. I’ve got scars of deep 2nd degree burn from a lab fire. And the debt to prove that not all programs will pay for their student’s injuries while working.

  5. Wow — that’s quite a story. Care to share the details?

  6. PICS or GTFO.

  7. That’s a favorite statement of yours, isn’t it?: http://www.thechemblog.com/?p=1144

  8. It’s a damn good response in so many situations, particularly wild party descriptions.

  9. cookingwithsolvents says:

    I kind of hate the “daredevil” attitude in chemistry and submit the C&E news story this week (TT explosion) as horrific example of the terrible consequences.

    I do have to wonder if that person is mentally balanced…***10g***!!!

  10. I’ve been trying to come up with a rationale for that level of scale-up; the only thing that sticks in my mind is “DUDE – I am SO out of here. After this time, I am NOT running this reaction EVER AGAIN.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *