ipse dixit #2 - recommendation letter

I needed a letter of recomendation from Hans Kornberg, a very distinguished bacterial genetist who was teaching one of the laboratory courses. I was in the lab plating out E. coli with a glass triangle you'd flame to kill the bacteria between one plate and the next. I had dipped my glass triangle in a beaker of ethanol and passed it through the Bunsen burner flame when a drop ran down the rod and onto my bench. So I had this little bit of flame on my bench. As I went to take care of it, my arm knocked over the beaker of ethanol and my entire bench went up in flames. Hans Kornberg walked over, puckered up, went, 'phwooo phwoo phwooo' and blew it out. And I thought, 'I'm not going to ask him for a recommendation today'

Stanley Fields, the inventor of the yeast two hybrid on: The Scientist, December 2010 page 54.