M. used to work in superconductors in Silicon Valley. He tells me stories about going in and out of “the sterile room” in a space suit. I express my ignorance about all things mycological. He takes out a Stamets book and begins to explain the life cycle of mushrooms, using an illustrated diagram as guide.
After others arrive, we make our way into the workshop where M. has refurbished an old laminar flow machine.
Everyone stands around admiring the machine. They take pictures of it like lab tech paparazzi.
This is how a laminar flow machine works: through a porous wall at the back of the machine, air flows out and toward the person sitting in front of it, ideally blowing away potential contaminants. This allows one to get in and out of the petri dishes with as little contamination as possible. However, for maximal efficacy, one must avoid creating turbulence. (This could cause things-in-the-air to get into the petri dishes).
The process is simple but cautious. M. commends my technique and tells me I might have a future as a biologist. This is good to know since the demand for anthropologists this days is low.