Stony Brook University’s Department of Chemistry included laboratory safety demonstrations for the first time in its annual Chemistry Research Day, which was held on January 18. The celebration showcases the department’s research, what students study and learn, and how it is all done in a safe environment. This emphasis on safety is a conscious step in ensuring the laboratory culture continues to value safety as well as data.
Graduate students and postdoctoral fellows presented the safety procedures used in their own laboratories as self-contained educational modules. The presentations included live demonstrations, narratives, question-and-answer sessions, handouts, videos and pictures, which were very well received by fellow students, faculty and visitors. The demonstrations have been developed into written standard operating procedures that will be revised by incorporating useful feedback from the university-wide Environmental Health and Safety community.
Sponsors provided prizes that were awarded to the labs voted best demo, cleanest lab and best able to spot safety violations by their peers. Provost Dennis Assanis and Chemistry Chair Nicole Sampson presented the awards to the students at the end of the day. Following a reception in the Wang Center Theater lobby, Professor Stephen Koch gave the keynote address, “Dr. Frankenstein, the Lye of Blood and the Bioinorganic Chemistry of Hydrogen.”