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The Experiment: 1942

The Experiment: 1942

October 1942. "Colorado School of Mines at Golden. Chemical prospecting for oil becomes more important as the war goes on and the demand for oil increases. Petroleum engineers call chemical prospecting the first scientific approach to the detection of oil in the earth. The big glass condensers, with which these engineering students are working with a professor of geophysics, are used in a soil analysis test. The percentage of wax left as residue at the end of the experiment indicates the nearness of petroleum to the site from which the soil sample was taken." Photo by Andreas Feininger, Office of War Information. View full size.


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From an old chemist

1. The glassware used in the experiment/analysis is very modern for the year: it's 'Standard Taper" so that the students didn't have to fit corks or stoppers into the joints. Mines was an advanced campus then as now.
2. Safety glasses were not offered nor required. Now the students would have face shields as well as other protective gear!
3. As grad students in the 60's, we learned the hard way to wire or clamp the rubber tubing onto the reflux columns and other places where water was used as a coolant. The way we learned is that a poor grad student failed to wire his tubing, and went home for the weekend, leaving his pot boiling. The tubing came off and flooded the lab and the floors below, including the Dept Chair's expensive library. OOPS! (We never heard from that guy again.)

When I was in college...

We would've made one heckuva bong out of that apparatus!

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