Tomorrow there will be a symposium honoring my late mentor. I will not be able to attend but I thought I could post some old NIH stories. Hank had lots of stories.
NHLBI is the abbreviation for the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. There are meetings with the section chiefs and every once in a while one of the old scientists would try to get the name changed to Heart, Lung and Gizzards. The name change was never approved but they seemed to have a good time trying. I am not sure whether this was Hank's favorite story but it is the most he told most often.
My favorite story was the one about the wasps. Many years ago, all the scientists worked in building 10. Building 10 is the largest brick building on the NIH Bethesda campus. There was a scientist who was analyzing wasp venom. He would take a wasp, strap in into a tiny electric chair and apply an electric voltage to get the venom. One day, he ran out of wasps. So he ran an ad in the paper saying that wasps were needed for medical research and the researcher would pay money for the wasps. It wasn't long before he encountered a young boy in the middle of building 10 holding a very large paper bag full of buzzing wasps. The researcher calmly took the paper bag and put it in the cold room. Then he paid the boy his reward money and told him not to do this again. Of course, there was a lot of talk about how the papers would say about the NIH if the wasps had gotten out of the paper bag and stung all the patients.
Another story that Hank told several times was the one about the snake. Hank's old lab was in the middle of the 7th floor of building 10, next door to the area where they performed heart transplants. Hank's lab started working on these mildly poisonous black snakes from Guam. One day, a snake got out of the cage and they spent months looking for it. The physicians that performed the heart transplants were not very happy with Hank. But the snake was found in a fire extinguisher cabinet next to a mouse.
I have a lot more stories.