Armed with an explosive blasting cap and a ball peen hammer, he was determined to win that bet. Placing the cap on a table, he swung the hammer and hit it squarely. The hammer exited the lab at a high rate of speed over his shoulder. By some fluke, nobody was injured. Mass Destruction did win the bet--the granite was cracked through.
Here is the explanation of how his nickname came about. Earlier that year he had been doing an organic analysis when the Prof came by and casually asked where he was in the procedure.
"I'm nitrating the unknown."
"You didn't get a reaction at the last step?"
It turned out that the prof had added too much denaturing agent to the unknown (glycerin) so it was not identified at the proper stage. Mass Destruction was now casually stirring 250 ml of nitroglycerin on an ice bath! The Prof encouraged him to keep stirring--gently--while he evacuated the other students and called the bomb squad.
After the bomb squad had made all the needed arrangements to dispose of the nitroglycerin, they generously allowed Mass Destruction to push the button on the detonator.
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