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Mino Green

(Electrical Engineering, 1956 - Present)
Shares his memories of getting his revenge with liquid nitrogen

It was 1956, I had just finished four years at MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) and had a deep desire to come home. As a desperate measure I took a post doctorate (research assistant at Imperial College) position in the Chemistry Department with F C Tompkins.

I was parked in a laboratory in the semi-basement, (it has either gone now or is right next door to the Sir Alexander Fleming Building). For me, who had just come from a world of optimism and bright cleanliness, the distinguishing feature of this room was the scuttling Cockroachsound that greeted one each morning (or night) on first switching on the lights. The sound was that of the fleeing cockroaches. They were big! With super long antennae! And they were fast! I wonder if Huxley got them from Darwin, who got then in the Galapagos? Since I wasn’t quick enough to get any of them, I decided on the scientific approach. I armed myself with a Dewar full of liquid nitrogen, kept in a different cockroach infested room. I opened the laboratory door, did not turn on the light, instead I swished the liquid nitrogen (-196°C) over the floor. I turned on the light, still heard the scuttling sound, but there was a cockroach. It was dragging itself across the floor with one leg stuck straight out, and clearly useless, and that was my haul for the day.

  © 2007 Imperial College London

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