Lab Games – Autoclave Bag Races!

Research can wear down even the most dedicated scientists, and our lab has a grand and mischievous tradition of distracting themselves from the daily grind. Past diversions include Nerf Ball and water gun/syringe fights, rolling-chair bowling (with grad students on board), exploding grapes in the microwave (this one is actually very cool), and, my all-time favorite, foot races to the break room for free food. There have been surprisingly few injuries associated with these antics, and they always serve as comic relief for the entire lab. Even a mature postdoc such as myself (;P) can enjoy watching, and sometimes participating, in this past time. To share this fun with the blogging community, I hereby initiate a new series, Lab Games, chronicling the (mis)adventures of our lab.

Today’s event – Autoclave Bag Races. The whole thing began when one grad student suggested another grad student climb into a large autoclave bag (the rationale for which I’m still not clear). The subsequent fitting of the autoclave bag led to what all were sure would be a challenging and thrilling sport – the Autoclave Bag Race. While maybe not an Olympic-caliber event, the idea seemed to have a lot of merit (and at least more exciting than Curling). So the race ensued, and it was quite a sight: picture the potato sack races of yesteryear’s field days, but replace the sacks with large orange biohazard bags and the tumbling children with research-spent grad students.

Unfortunately, the inaugural Autoclave Bag Race wasn’t even a close one. One student’s bag fell apart long before the finish line, leaving its user disgruntled over her “faulty equipment” and the other student resigned to a default victory. Undeterred, however, the participants are excited to refine the event and compete again. There was discussion of reinforcing and adding handles to the bags, as well as expansion to include other competitors. Of course, the next event should probably be scheduled after “normal business” hours…I’m fairly certain some of the PIs around here would frown on this particular extracurricular activity.


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