Bit of an odd blog post but here goes. This post will muse on the topic of scientific sabotage, which is essentially when experiments are purposely tampered with to prevent the progress of a researcher.
There is one famous case of scientific sabotage that actually resulted in a court case. In short, a PhD at the University of Michigan was having some trouble with experiments. The student initially thought they were making silly mistakes but gradually became suspicious that someone was tampering with their work. Eventually a hidden camera was installed and a post doc was found guilty. This post doc was fined $8,800 for reagents and experimental materials, $600 in court fees, given 6 months probation, ordered to perform 40 hours of community service and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. The post doc claimed to be compelled by internal pressures and wanted to set back the PhD students research. They later admitted it was poor judgment due to stresses. The full story can be read here (https://www.nature.com/news/2010/100929/full/467516a.html
Reading this story highlights the competition culture in many labs, whereby researchers feel as if they are fighting against fellow lab members for future grants, papers and even careers. The world of research is tough but I personally will always seek out a friendly, collaborative work environment.
Its also worth noting that there is also accidental scientific sabotage- which isn't necessarily malicious. This is when trust is placed in another researchers results/materials and they turn out to be incorrect. This can stop progress if you don't double check things . But there is a fine line- you should be able to have some level of trust in your colleagues! After all, collaboration is essential for successful research.
Hopefully this post has shed a light on the pressures/chaos found in research labs. But don't let it give you a tainted view- most labs are lovely places to work!