Yale Student Killed in Lathe Accident

Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

51 Articles

By Becky Stern

Becky Stern (sternlab.org is a DIY guru and director of wearable electronics at Adafruit. She publishes a new project video every week and hosts a live show on YouTube. Formerly Becky was Senior Video Producer for MAKE. Becky lives in Brooklyn, NY and belongs to art groups Free Art & Technology (“release early, often, and with rap music”) and Madagascar Institute (“fear is never boring”).

51 Articles

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Yale Student Killed as Hair Gets Caught in Lathe (NY Times) – horrifying and so sad:

As a Yale undergraduate majoring in astronomy and physics, Michele Dufault was used to extreme physical environments. She worked on underwater robotic vehicles last summer as a fellow at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. She also traveled to Houston as part of a team of undergraduates chosen by NASA to perform a plasma physics experiment in reduced gravity.

But it was a rudimentary machine — a lathe in a campus laboratory — that erased what everyone imagined to be a brilliant future for Ms. Dufault, who also found time to mentor girls interested in science and to play saxophone in Yale’s precision marching band.

On Tuesday, just weeks from graduating, she toiled late at night inside a machine shop in a chemistry lab, as she had for weeks while working on her senior thesis: investigating the possible use of liquid helium for detecting dark matter particles. Ms. Dufault, 22, was killed when her hair became caught in the lathe, whose rotating axis is used to hold materials like wood or metal being shaped.

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