|Messy much? The Chemjobber Archives|
When I was in graduate school, I would have flasks littering my hood sash, each with 50 to 100 mgs of material that was waiting, waiting to be either cleaned out or stored in a vial. Quite honestly, it got pretty bad. Sadly, not much better in my postdoc. I'm a lot better at work, but that's with a fair bit of peer pressure to Keep Things Neat.
I try to clean up the clutter, really I do -- but the tide of stuff just keeps coming. But the one critique that seems to resonate more than others is that messy labs can be a safety risk. I can think of many anecdotal stories about chemical accidents where the situation was made worse by some amount of Reagent X in unclean glassware Y that Chemist Z had failed to put away in time. In the assessments of one of the recent university lab accidents, I seem to recall (but cannot find) that because the lab was relatively neat and clutter-free, a bad accident was not made much worse.
I'll tell you this: if I found a picture of my hood in the Wall of Shame, I'd probably be humiliated and (potentially) angry. I'd also clean up my hood pretty darn fast. To paraphrase something I've said elsewhere, the only things that seem to change human behavior are guilt, greed or fear. Sigh.