An Explosive Situation
On January 7, 2010, there was an explosion in a chemistry lab at Texas Tech. Thankfully, nobody was killed, but a graduate student was seriously injured.
Two graduate students were working on creating derivatives of an explosive compound called nickel hydrazine perchlorate. They made 10 grams of the substance, which is 100 times more than their professor considered safe. (The professor instructed them to not make more than 100 mg, though the graduate students denied such a safety limit existed.) One of the students decided to crush the substance with a mortar and pestle prior to analysis. However, this was a tragic mistake. These types of substances can explode under friction or pressure. And that's exactly what happened. The student suffered from burns and lost three fingers.
Source: U.S. Chemical Safety Board
Image: Evan-Amos/Wikimedia Commons