14 Sep 2018

How I became a CEan in 1960? Happy Engineers' day to all.

I become a CEan

Just after graduation in 1960, I joined in my first job as a junior scientific assistant in the Central Electro Chemical Research Institute. I was to initiate some new study and was finding my way around arranging for power supplies, glassware, and instruments. The lab I was assigned to was a long hall with work tables spanning the width over the length of the lab. My division was using all sorts of acids and obnoxious chemicals and so was banished to the last two bays. My colleagues were three women, all my seniors, all chemistry people who considered a mere Chemical Engineer as an upstart to be shown his place. Being a junior and an unknown I was given the smaller of the bays and ignored - to my great gratitude.

The other team set up their experiment, connected all the pipes, checked the circuit and switched on the circulating pump. Craaaack… a sharp noise, a shower of sparks from the starter switch and everything came to a halt. We had an attendant to fetch and carry things. He was immediately summoned and asked to rewire the fuse, which he did. The Diwali sound and light show duly repeated.

 Loud proclamations in Tamil : “the stupid pump was working the previous evening. All I did was to move it nearer my new set up and this happens. Call the electrician from Engineering Division”.

He arrived, inspected the starter switch, the pump terminals and the rest. Nothing wrong was found. He rewired the fuse putting a slightly higher rated one saying the starting current could be higher and switched on. Boom… a much louder noise (this time from the lab mains switch) and power for the whole lab went off. So did the electrician to get the EE. In the meantime I covertly looked at the pump and its connecting wire. It seemed longer than in the previous evening to make it come nearer the new set up. The scientists had neatly insulated the joint and being women more careful about getting a shock and added some extra layers of tape. Somehow this aroused my doubts. The engineer turned up and asked what was going on. My seniors left the room to get something. I just had time to point at the newly wired junction to the engineer before the researchers returned. He told the electrician to remove the insulation.

It was a very neatly executed job.

All three wires from the starter were cleanly bared as were the three wires from the pump. Then all three bared ends of the wires from the switch and all three wires from the pump were tightly twisted together and the two fully shorted ends were neatly twisted together and then massive amounts of insulation put around this perfect short circuit. Now the EE blew a fuse. “What is it you are doing? With all the solvents here do you want to blow the entire lab wiring and start a fire? What kind of research people you are?”

He waited till the electrician set right the offending joint and started the pump, which came on smoothly. After he stormed out, all hell broke loose on the other bay.

“who does he think he (meaning me)is? A chit of a boy just from college, that too a Chemical Engineer (considered to be outcasts of all engineers) and trying to teach us wiring! Crazy Engineer, we’ll show him what.”

A CEan was born.

14 Sep 2018

Wow! 😀 

“who does he think he (meaning me)is? A chit of a boy just from college, that too a Chemical Engineer (considered to be outcasts of all engineers) and trying to teach us wiring! Crazy Engineer, we’ll show him what.”

Epic! 

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