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The Camera Aversion of Scientists

If you want to see a lab empty out like the place is on fire, get a camera.
Almost everybody who works in labs is camera shy. This can be a problem if
you’re in that large majority and land in a prominent lab where the university (or
even local media crews) might be around on a regular basis depending on what’s
been discovered. These poor guys, who are just trying to do their jobs, want to
film scientists doing science, but the problem is that almost all of the scientists
want to run away.

One postdoc I remember even hid in the lab’s “hot room” to avoid a news
crew. That’s the term for the room where all the radioactive materials are
stored— very safely, really; there’s little to no risk to going in that room despite its
off-putting appearance. The university’s radiation safety staff inspects those
rooms regularly, and nobody’s allowed in there without knowing what they’re

But the door has those giant radiation warning signs on it, and my
colleague correctly guessed that the camera people sure as hell wouldn’t follow
him there.

…That guy in the hot room stood around for almost an hour with nothing
to do, until he was sure the crew was gone. Having successfully avoided
appearing in the video, he went back to work and faced nothing but a bit of
ribbing from the rest of us.


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