The hunt for Alan Slesinski's centrifuge

Posted by Mindy Nguyen

Sometimes we get lucky, or maybe it’s more than that. Maybe if you’re good to your students, your students will be good to you. Well, a former Sous Vide Intensive student, Alan Slesinski, seems to be of that last mindset and he just happened to have an old centrifuge that he was looking to give away.

Alan Slesinski & centrifuge

Actually, he’d been trying to give it to us since last fall, but with all of our hectic schedules, last Wednesday was the first time that we were finally able to pick it up. One of my many hats just happens to be Tech Team chauffeur, so I was in charge of arranging transportation for Dave and my excursion to Unilever in New Jersey to retrieve our new toy. Dave only had one request, which I ignored: Don’t rent from UHaul. He’d had a bad experience… there’s more to it, but that’s the super-short version of the tirade. Well, I didn’t listen. Long story short, it took me two hours to get the truck and then get to Dave, who was too happy telling me, “I told you so” to care that I was late. Lesson learned. We were off to New Jersey in a truck with driver’s side door that would only open about 10″, driven by someone who was taught not to signal when changing lanes by her mom because “that way, other cars won’t know you’re coming.”

Alan and Dave securing the centrifuge in the back of the truck
Alan and Dave securing the centrifuge in the back of the truck

It took about three u-turns to finally find the entrance to Unilever, then I had to back the truck into two different sides of the loading dock 3-4 times until we figured out which one was the right height. But finally we were ready to load up our beautiful “new” centrifuge. New to us, not so new to the world. It’s the size of a commercial washing machine, and, if you’re a fan of LOST, it looks a little like something from the Dharma Initiative’s hatch… after it was blown up. But it works! As Alan and Dave were pushing it into the back of the truck (and learning that trying to lift the 600 pound centrifuge was not a great idea), Dave turned to me wide-eyed and ecstatic and said, “See Mindy! You just need to have a wish list! Dreams do come true!”

I don't think that we'll still be able to call the service technician pictured there with questions...
I don't think that we'll still be able to call the service technician pictured there with questions...

After we toured the incredible facilities at Unilever (and saw some amazing things that I’m not allowed to blog about—but trust us, that place has some great toys), we loaded up on snacks and headed back to the city. Dave sat in the passenger seat enjoying the sunlight and somewhat-fresh-Jersey-air (I can say that, I’m from Jersey). He seemed perfectly content, clutching the internal rotor from the centrifuge (too delicate to leave in the back of the truck), a Mountain Dew, and a giant black-and-white cookie. I guess dreams really do come true. Check out Dave’s post tomorrow on how he plans to “live the dream” and use the centrifuge.

happy dave

6 thoughts on “The hunt for Alan Slesinski's centrifuge

    1. It’s sitting in our lab right now. We had to move our liquid nitrogen dewar to another space to make room.

  1. I have a friend who works at Unilever and i live 10 minutes away from there… it probably could’ve fit in my xterra… next time =)

  2. I like Dave’s quotes about dreams coming true; it’s like you not only found a centrifuge, but Oz, too.

  3. That Alan guy assured me he had permission to push that centrifuge off Unilever premises………….good thing with this photographic evidence on the internet. I used a Sorvall RC 2B centrifuge for over 15 yrs in my scientific career and you have received a really good laboratory workhorse you will be please with……….doesn’t even mind mild out of balance conditions like some centrifuges.

    Alan’s Dad,

    Ron S.

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