April 14th, 2007

it wiggles~

So I've learned recently that aniline feeds mold.

Hi there! So I'm an undergrad at one of those small liberal-arts colleges, and I've been working in a lab there, looking at organolanthanides, for about three years. During a lot of this time, I was the only person working with my PI, so I'm not as up on lab politics as I could be. Now, though, there are two other people working on different projects, but for the same prof in the same lab.

My gripe: I walked in the other day for the first time this quarter and found three beakers in the sink with a bunch of mold growing in them. We are not a biology lab; I don't even know how long those had been there. Yeah, sometimes other people leave glassware in the sink for a day or two if they have other things to do, but then they come back and wash it out. So I jokingly asked the prof if someone'd set up an experiment in the sink, because I was talking to him anyway, and he eventually walked over and looked at them and mentioned that there'd been aniline in the beakers.

I only know one person in there who works with aniline. Coincidentally, she's the person who leaves stuff lying around in the sink the most often. And I really don't think she did this to be malicious - I think she simply forgot they were there. But they were there, and to be honest, they were grossing me out. And then the next day, after I mentioned it, they were still there, fuzzy and looking at me.

So here's my question to all of you who are more astute than I: I was thinking of putting a sign up by the sink, something like "Aniline feeds mold (but now that we have it, maybe we should donate it to the bio department; they could discover something cool like penicillin)," but then I thought that that could be embarrassing. Is this a sensitive enough issue that I should pull the person aside and mention that I found mold in her beakers, or am I way overthinking this? Thanks. ( :