Behold, for unto thee I give safe passage through the belly of the beast Bardeen.

Back at Rochester when winter hit we could retreat into one of the several systems of tunnels and crawl spaces that connect various groups of buildings on campus, like this one linking the main academic buildings. Wisconsin, in general, doesn't provide that option. Don't worry, I've learned to make do. I take great pride in the superiority of my routes and for the past 4 winters have proudly stalked the deserted back corridors of Bardeen's 1st floor on the way to and from the Linguistics Department in Van Hise.

This winter though, I've had to modify my route from lab/home/bus stop ⇒ Van Hise due to the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery construction site that's blocking my way. This means I enter the above maze of corridors, dead ends, and medical oddities from a different point now. And on the basement level none-the-less. The hard part is that you've actually got 3 buildings to make it through, not just 1. There's Medical Sciences in the old state hospital building (c. 1920) facing University Ave., the Bardeen Medical Laboratories building that sits directly across Linden Drive from Van Hise, and squashed in between, the Service Memorial Institute. All interconnected in some places, but not others.

It took several exploratory sessions, but I have managed to map out the most efficient route from one end of this complex to the other (in yellow). As a bonus I found an alternate route (in green) that exits via a discreet 1st floor doorway directly to the University Avenue bus stop. Along the way I came upon a variety of interesting artifacts. They are documented below and mapped above. Besides the small cadre of poor souls who work in laboratories in the basements of these buildings I am fairly confident that less that 10 people in the world could navigate this route successfully.

- The abandoned shower.  Sure, there are sciencey labs down here, but this one's just hanging out all by itself. Not even any instructions on the wall or an eye wash station to keep it company. Has anyone ever seen one of these used in real life? Darcy, you can assume that question is directed at you.
- The ramp. One of the mysteries of these basements. Directly on the otherside of that door there is an identical ramp going back down. And a locked metal cage full of computer components from the 80's.

and - Long dark hallways, full of junk.

- Sometimes this machine is in use. Sometimes it isn't. It doesn't matter, I don't know what it does.

- The Wall of Anatomies.  Hello, vaginal canal.

- At this point you emerge suddenly from the gloom of SMI's basement to the light of day (via skylight to above courtyard), 2 hanging plants, and a large mirror to aid in navigating the upcoming 90° turn.

- Any high spirits resulting from this emergence are quickly dispelled by this sad sight. 

- Opposite the forsaken bubbler, an oversized wall map. I have determined it to be between 11 and 16 years old, printed sometime after the breakup of the former Soviet Union but before Zaire became The Democratic Republic of the Congo.

- Next door, LASER LIGHT. 

- Bench seats for those who need to rest.

- As far as I can tell, some type of giant ventilation device. Early on in my explorations this was a useful landmark.

Φ - Rows (and rows) of green lockers. They all have locks on them. Who's using them?


L said...

This is my favorite post in a very long time, Whitney.

"Hello, vaginal canal."

Montoyá said...


Anonymous said...

i AM Montoyá

DarcyM said...

I have not seen the pull shower used, but I have used the emergency eye wash. There are rumors that Joe Stocklosa needed to use the emergency shower at UR when he spilled 12N HCl on himself during chemistry lab, but I am not sure if that is true.
The X machine is a centrifuge, looks like it is just for normal spinning of things, max speed 14,000rpm.

Lucia said...

I used to work at not one but two chemistry labs, and yes, I have seen the shower used. after a Kjeldahl flask filled with boiling concentrate sulfuric acid exploded on a man whose name I can't remember right now, but not a man you wanted to see without his clothes on...
I vote that the machine indicated by ??? is an autoclave.