Leif's Annals of Disasters in Experimentation

Here I have posted pictures of various calamities that have occured in experiments I have carried out. These are real endeavors in science, not meant to demonstrate how things can go wrong.


September, 1990 Los Alamos National Laboratories, CTX-CTR

Compact Toroid Experiment, Controlled Thermonuclear Research Division

This is a photo of a burned up integrated circuit. I was building an amplifier to amplify a voltage which represented the temperature of hot electrons in a plasma. The plasmas being researched were of a form named spheromaks and were part of an effort to understand plasma to achieve hot fusion energy. We wanted to know if there were a lot of high energy electrons in the plasma streaming in a particular direction.

This is a photo of the probe tip which I inserted into the edge of plasma container. The probe was mounted on the outside of a VW bus sized vacuum tank. Inside this tank was a tuna-can shaped copper container. The probe tip protruded just inside the edge of the copper. You can observe that the tantalum shielding has been melted away, exposing the kapton (brown plastic stuff) insulator inside and the white macor (a brittle ceramic) which formed the core of the probe tip.


March 1991, Swarthmore College, Dr. Frank Moscatelli's laser lab

This photo shows a portion of a tie which I was wearing. I learned that scientists who work with lasers do not wear ties because they easily flop into the path of a laser beam. This tie was burned by a 4 mW argon ion laser which we used to pump (power) a Rhodamine-6G (carcinogenic orange dye) dye laser.


June 1995, University of Colorado at Boulder, Condensed Matter Laboratories

This photo shows a 10 watt resistor which I was using to monitor the current going through a magnet coil. The magnet coil produced a magnetic field which I applied to microscopic magnetic sensors. The resistor was accidentally exposed to more than 10 watts of power.


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