From: ILPI <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Facial hair and fire?
Date: January 24, 2013 3:52:08 PM EST
Reply-To: DCHAS-L <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU>
Message-ID: <5117517A15F08343A243D1DEFBE6BE4C44A7E31B**At_Symbol_Here**>

I concur.  The "demonstration" per se is more or less pedagogically vacuous and shows a cavalier disrespect for best safety practices.  More importantly, it encourages the students to try repeating it on their own based only on some hazy recollection of what the instructor said he used in preparing the "demonstration".  Go look on Youtube at all the idiots who set themselves on fire with butane, gasoline and whatnot; many of those have gone horribly wrong.   Given this instructor's failure to recognize that he is condoning, if not directly promoting, a potentially disfiguring or lethal activity, I would also deem his intended actions morally and professionally derelict.


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On Jan 24, 2013, at 3:21 PM, McGrath Edward J wrote:

If this person is presenting as an instructor, he is modeling extremely poor practice.  Regarding the beard, I don't see how it differs from working with shoulder length hair around an open flame (I have had the experience of a student with shoulder length hair singeing it as she reached over a Bunsen burner flame=97fortunately, without injury=97just a foul odor.)  You are absolutely correct in telling him this demonstration as he describes it is inappropriate.
Every so often, I get a science teacher (usually chemistry) whose instructional purpose seems to be to dazzle and terrify the students.  My response is to request a listing of instructional objectives as tied to the state standards. 
Edward J. McGrath
Science Supervisor
Red Clay Consolidated School District
1502 Spruce Avenue
Wilmington, DE  19805
(302) 552-3768
"Fortune favors the prepared mind."  Louis Pasteur
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Samuella B. Sigmann
Sent: Thursday, January 24, 2013 3:09 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Facial hair and fire?

All - Please let me know if anyone out there has had any any experience with this situation. 

I have a PI who has a full beard (we are talking ZZ Top style beard here).  He is insistent on doing demos with flames - including fire eating.  Don't ask me what chemical principal that is demonstrating.  Yesterday he asked me what I thought about doing the classic "money burning" demo where you dip a  dollar in a 50/50 isopropanol/water mixture that shows how evaporation cools the money and prevents the alcohol from burning it,  only he wants to use his beard instead of the money.  I am not sure if he was serious or just trying to get a response out of me.  

Anyone have any suggestions on how to prevent this fellow from burning his face off?  In general, I would like to tell him that if the beard stays, he cannot work with flames.  Is that an option?  It is so long that he can actually tie it up and fold it in on itself, but it is still hanging pretty low and could easily catch on fire with a Bunsen burner.




Don't always believe what you think.

Samuella B. Sigmann, NRCC-CHO
Lecturer/Safety Committee Chair
A. R. Smith Department of Chemistry
Appalachian State University
525 Rivers Street
Boone, NC   28608
Phone: 828 262 2755
Fax: 828 262 6558

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