Michele Dufault Mourned At Yale
Hundreds gathered on the Yale campus Wednesday night to mourn a student who died in a freak chemistry lab accident, the Yale Daily News reports.
Michele Dufault, who was to graduate Yale in a matter of weeks, was killed when her hair got caught in a lathe, a complicated machine used in wood and metalworking. She was 22.
Originally from Scituate, Mass., Dufault was a science scholar, and was working on her thesis -- seeing if liquid helium could be used to find dark matter -- when she died.
The YDN offers more memories of 'rising star' Dufault:
Dufault loved to challenge herself academically, but her friends said she gained equal happiness from sharing her zeal with others.
"I would say, 'I have no idea what you're talking about, but it's really cool,'" Dufault's suitemate Merlyn Deng '11, an economics major, said. "The very fact that I was trying to talk to her about how she could do science was enough for her."
Deng and another suitemate, Alice Song '11, said Dufault approached every aspect of her life as a scientist. Struggling to wake herself up at 7 a.m. every morning sophomore year, Dufault experimented with an enormous alarm clock, moving it around the room until she figured out that when she left it under her mattress it worked most effectively, awaking her with its vibrations, Deng said.
According to the New York Times, Dufault's death has been ruled and accident. Dufault was known as a meticulous researcher, and she even helped write a 60-page manual on best lab practices. Staff members oversee the lab where Dufault was working during the day; however, many students use the workspace at night. Dufault's death occurred around 2:30 a.m. Tuesday.
In a letter to students, Yale President Richard Levin wrote that the university would conduct a "thorough review of the safety policies and practices of laboratories, machine shops, and other facilities with power equipment that is accessed and operated by undergraduates."