Valentine's Day normally passes me by completely, but this year a charming young man in the lab next door decided to lift all our spirits by handing out beautiful red roses.
Not being the cute and fluffy type, I stuck my thorny gift in a bottle of water, placed it next to an old rotorvap bath and promptly forgot about it. By the end of the day somebody had reminded me it was there (by taking the proverbial, as is tradition in the lab) and I examined it for signs of solvent abuse.
The poor flower was in a sorry state. The petals had darkened and gone limp, in fact the entire head of the rose, unable to fight gravity in its flaccid state, was drooping mournfully into the bench. I shrugged, made a mental note not to work in a lab for too many years and went home expecting to find a rotting mess the next morning.
Not so fast! In fact my charge had perked up quite considerably by the next day as you can see in the picture; it was in danger of looking almost healthy. The only explanation I can think of for this is that the lab at night is a rather different place from the lab during the day. Lids stay on solvent bottles and the fumehood vents aren't disturbed by herds of marauding project students so they very efficiently expel nasties from the room.
I was rather impressed so I fed it some alpha-D-glucose, the only bottle of sugar on my bench. The spatula wasn't clean so I hope it didn't mind absorbing some diazo compound as well. M'colleague left a couple of bits of dry ice underneath it for the CO2
hit and it seems to be thriving! Nice to cheer the place up every now and then. I'll let you know how long it lasts...
Maybe the lab atmosphere isn't as poisonous as I tend to imagine...