How to tactfully remind my otherwise lovely labmate that the smell of beta-mercaptoethanol makes me highly nauseous? I think he knows, but since no one else seems to be adversely affected by this foul chemical, it’s easy to forget.

The thing about beta-mercap is that the smell can linger for hours even in tiny residual droplets from a spent pipette tip. So I just went through his trash trying to find anything smelly and purple, but drew a blank. Next, I took off my lab coat and swirled it around my head for about a minute trying to circulate the smell away from my bench – in vain.

Plan C: a coffee in the office while I wait for my stomach to settle and for diffusion to do its thing.