Even though we have achieved so much advancement in the field of science and technology, can a routine science experiment still go awry in this day and age?
By: Ringo Bones
Back in Thursday, September 4, 2014, a supposedly “routine” tornado simulation demonstration in the Tommy Lee Wells Discovery Museum in Reno, Nevada unexpectedly turned into a flash fire that resulted in the injury of kids on a field trip. Even though the flash fire looked quite dramatic on the mobile phone video camera that captured it and resulted in the injury of some kids watching close to the science experiment, the quick response of the Reno Fire Department averted a major disaster that would have gutted the entire museum. Given how far we have advanced in the field of science and technology, does mishaps like these still a possibility in supposedly routine science experiments this day and age?
Employee error was blamed for the incident and the museum attendant who initiated the experiment is now on administrative leave after initial investigation revealed that the attendant skipped a step and an ingredient that resulted in a dramatic flash fire on a supposedly routine tornado simulation experiment. The tornado experiment at the Discovery Museum in Reno had been a routine attraction to elementary school kids on their field trip since the museum set up shop. It might have been a rare mishap given that the years since the museum opened, such accidents had never ever happened.
13 people were injured in a flash fire, including 8 children. Bill Nye the Science Guy recently demonstrated the tornado experiment on his show and points out the danger of the ethyl alcohol and cotton used at the experiment as the step with the most potential to initiate in a dramatic flash fire with a high potential for injury to the experimenter and the spectators.