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2007 Personal Accounts
The Darwin Awards salutes the spirit portrayed in the following personal accounts, submitted by loyal (and sometimes reluctant) readers. Next Prev Random


Remember The Hindenburg
2007 Personal Account

Remember the time the science teacher dropped bits of sodium into a bowl of water? Students watch in awe as the element skips about, fizzing as it burns. Well, for one teacher, this tidy little demonstration didn't go exactly to plan.

A glass safety screen is usually placed between the bowl and the students, so random bits of sodium don't jump out and scald them. One particular teacher decided to put the screen over the bowl, lifting it up to drop in sodium. He did this several times, so all the children could see. When he was done, he removed the screen from the bowl.

2 Na + 2 H2O = 2 NaOH + H2

Sodium in water produces hydrogen gas. And this teacher had the bad judgement to have a Bunsen burner burning near the edge of his desk. When he lifted the glass screen, the accumuated hydrogen exploded.

The students were just leaving the classroom when they heard an almighty BANG! They turned back to see the teacher on his ass looking shell-shocked, with bits of the overhead florescent lighting falling down from the ceiling. None of the students were hurt (except aches from laughing) and the teacher really should have known better than to let hydrogen build up.

But that said, in the same department, another teacher accidentally let a senior student make nitroglycerine. They were picking bits of lab equipment out of the ceiling for a fortnight. This submission only qualifies for an At-Risk Survivor since, despite their best efforts, these science teachers remain in the gene pool.

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Submitted by: Chris (a personal account from my brother)

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