A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: Geoffrey Kolbe
Date: 2021 May 8, 00:40 -0700
Reg Garton was Professor of the Spectroscopy group in the Physics Department at Imperial College some forty years ago. He once related to me that the Spectroscopy group had been situated in the basement of the old Royal College of Science, before it got torn down, and was relocated to the basement of the new Physics building back in the mid '60's. The relocation was something of a relief for the experimental spectroscopists in the group, who had struggled to contend with mercury absorption lines in the spectra they recorded in the old Royal College of Science laboratory, such was the level of mercury vapour in the air.
When they pulled up the parque floor in the old labs, there was a lake of murcury underneath, spilled over the years from mercury diffusion pumps and the Toepler pumps before them. As he pulled on a cigarette, Reg related that none of the people who had worked in the labs at that time had come to any harm and lived out their normal span without undue interruption from any disease that an association with murcury was supposed to give them....