The alcohol trouble
|During grammar school science experiements into properties of different alcohols:
The residue of each test was tipped down the sinks, which were grouped in threes. There were no U-bends, but each group of sinks emptied into a single box, which overflowed into the mains sewers. Presumably this was intended to retain things like droplets of mercury, which was not banned from use when I was 16.
During the session, my bunsen went out, so I re-lit it with a splint lit from the teacher's bunsen. For safety's sake (!) I dropped the burning splint into the sink, intending to extinguish it with water, instead of waving it around in the alcohol fumes. A small blue flame disappeared down the plughole. Hum, thinks I, I wonder where that's going?
I opened the cupboard 'neath the sink, only to find the drain box, full of alcohol, a roaring mass of flame. Shutting the doors, I called out, "Er, Sir..." just as the inch-thick wooden lids blew off the adjacent un-used sinks. Fortunately, the back-blast extinguished the flames under the cupboard, so the box only sagged slightly!
Jokes of science 02
|The experimentalist comes running excitedly into the theorist's office, waving a graph taken off his latest experiment. "Hmmm," says the theorist, "That's exactly where you'd expect to see that peak. Here's the reason (long logical explanation follows)." In the middle of it, the experimentalist says "Wait a minute", studies the chart for a second, and says, "Oops, this is upside down." He fixes it. "Hmmm," says the theorist, "you'd expect to see a dip in exactly that position. Here's the reason...".
A Princeton plasma physicist is at the beach when he discovers an ancient looking oil lantern sticking out of the sand. He rubs the sand off with a towel and a genie pops out. The genie offers to grant him one wish. The physicist retrieves a map of the world from his car an circles the Middle East and tells the genie, "I wish you to bring peace in this region".
After 10 long minutes of deliberation, the genie replies, "Gee, there are lots of problems there with Lebanon, Iraq, Israel, and all those other places. This is awfully embarrassing. I've never had to do this before, but I'm just going to have to ask you for another wish. This one is just too much for me".
Taken aback, the physicist thinks a bit and asks, "I wish that the Princeton tokamak would achieve scientific fusion energy break-even."
After another deliberation the genie asks, "Could I see that map again?"
What is the difference between a physicist, an engineer, and a mathematician?
If an engineer walks into a room and sees a fire in the middle and a bucket of water in the corner, he takes the bucket of water and pours it on the fire and puts it out.
If a physicist walks into a room and sees a fire in the middle and a bucket of water in the corner, he takes the bucket of water and pours it eloquently around the fire and lets the fire put itself out.
If a mathematician walks into a room and sees a fire in the middle and a bucket of water in the corner, he convinces himself there is a solution and leaves.
An experimental physicist performs an experiment involving two cats, and an inclined tin roof. The two cats are very nearly identical; same sex, age, weight, breed, eye and hair color. The physicist places both cats on the roof at the same height and lets them both go at the same time. One of the cats fall off the roof first so obviously there is some difference between the two cats.
What is the difference? One cat has a greater mew.
French physicist Ampere (1775-1836) had two cats, one big and a one small, and he loved them very much. But when the door was closed cats couldn't enter or exit the room. So Ampere ordered two holes to be made in his door: one big for the big cat, and one small for the small cat.
A psychologist makes an experiment with a mathematician and a physicist. He puts a good-looking, naked woman in a bed in one corner of the room and the mathematician on a chair in another one, and tells him: "Ill half the distance between you and the woman every five minutes, and youre not allowed to stand up." the mathematician runs away, yelling: "in that case, Ill never get to this woman!". After that, the psychologist takes the physicist and tells him the plan. The physicist starts grinning. the psychologist asks him: "but youll never get to this woman?", the physicists tells him: "sure, but for all practical things this is a good approximation."
There is this farmer who is having problems with his chickens. All of the sudden, they are all getting very sick and he doesn't know what is wrong with them. After trying all conventional means, he calls a biologist, a chemist, and a physicist to see if they can figure out what is wrong. So the biologist looks at the chickens, examines them a bit, and says he has no clue what could be wrong with them. Then the chemist takes some tests and makes some measurements, but he can't come to any conclusions either. So the physicist tries. He stands there and looks at the chickens for a long time without touching them or anything. Then all of the sudden he starts scribbling away in a notebook. Finally, after several gruesome calculations, he exclaims, "I've got it! But it only works for spherical chickens in a vacuum."
Earth science answers
|REAL ANSWERS FROM EARTH SCIENCE EXAMS
The terrestrial planets are much larger than the gas giants.
Wegener found matching bedbugs on opposite sides of the Atlantic.
The main problem associated with limestone aquifers is Lyme disease.
We don't have rock salt on Guam because that forms from from evaporation of oceans and we don't have oceans on Guam.
Erie, Pennsylvania has no volcanoes because it's too cold there.
The most important agent of landscape formation on Guam is greyhounds - they are intelligent.
We know that the sun is much farther away from us than the moon is, because we can see stars between us and the sun, but not between us and the moon.
The rear end of a trilobite is called a trilobutt.
Thrown out of the lab
|Top Ten ways to get thrown out of chemistry lab
10. Pretend an electron got stuck in your ear, and insist on describing the sound to others.
9. Give a cup of liquid nitrogen to a classmate and ask, "Does this taste funny to you?"
8. Consistently write three atoms of potassium as "KKK."
7. Mutter repeatedly, "Not again... not again... not again."
6. When it's very quiet, suddenly cry out, "My eyes!"
5. Deny the existence of chemicals.
4. Begin pronouncing everything your immigrant lab instructor says exactly the way he/she says it.
3. Casually walk to the front of the room and urinate in a beaker.
2. Pop a paper bag at the crucial moment when the professor is about to pour the sulfuric acid
1. Show up with a 55-gallon drum of fertilizer and express an interest in federal buildings.
|THE LAST WORD
The Ultimate Scientific Dictionary
Activation Energy: The useful quantity of energy available in one cup of coffee.
Atomic Theory: A mythological explanation of the nature of matter, first proposed by the ancient Greeks, and now thoroughly discredited by modern computer simulation. Attempts to verify the theory by modern computer simulation have failed. Instead, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that computer outputs depend upon the color of the programmer's eyes, or occasionally upon the month of his or her birth. This apparent astrological connection, at last, vindicates the alchemist's view of astrology as the mother of all science.
Bacon, Roger: An English friar who dabbled in science and made experimentation fashionable. Bacon was the first science popularizer to make it big on the banquet and talk-show circuit, and his books even outsold the fad diets of the period.
Biological Science: A contradiction in terms.
Bunsen Burner: A device invented by Robert Bunsen (1811-1899) for brewing coffee in the laboratory, thereby enabling the chemist to be poisoned without having to go all the way to the company cafeteria.
Butyl: An unpleasant-sounding word denoting an unpleasant-smelling alcohol.
CAI: Acronym for "Computer-Aided Instruction". The modern system of training professional scientists without ever exposing them to the hazards and expense of laboratory work. Graduates of CAI-based programs are very good at simulated research.
Cavendish: A variety of pipe tobacco that is reputed to produce remarkably clear thought processes, and thereby leads to major scientific discoveries; hence, the name of a British research laboratory where the tobacco is smoked in abundance.
Chemical: A substance that:
1. An organic chemist turns into a foul odor;
2. an analytical chemist turns into a procedure;
3. a physical chemist turns into a straight line;
4. a biochemist turns into a helix;
5. a chemical engineer turns into a profit.
Chemical Engineering: The practice of doing for a profit what an organic chemist only does for fun.
Chromatography: (From Gr. chromo [color] + graphos [writing]) The practice of submitting manuscripts for publication with the original figures drawn in non-reproducing blue ink.
Clinical Testing: The use of humans as guinea pigs. (See also PHARMACOLOGY and TOXICOLOGY)
Compound: To make worse, as in: 1) A fracture; 2) the mutual adulteration of two or more elements.
Computer Resources: The major item of any budget, allowing for the acquisition of any capital equipment that is obsolete before the purchase request is released.
Eigen Function: The use to which an eigen is put.
En: The universal bidentate ligand used by coordination chemists. For years, efforts were made to use ethylene-diamine for this purpose, but chemists were unable to squeeze all the letters between the corners of the octahedron diagram. The timely invention of en in 1947 revolutionized the science.
Evaporation Allowance: The volume of alcohol that the graduate students can drink in a year's time.
Exhaustive Methylation: A marathon event in which the participants methylate until they drop from exhaustion.
First Order Reaction: The reaction that occurs first, not always the one desired. For example, the formation of brown gunk in an organic prep.
Flame Test: Trial by fire.
Genetic Engineering: A recent attempt to formalize what engineers have been doing informally all along.
Grignard: A fictitious class of compounds often found on organic exams and never in real life.
Inorganic Chemistry: That which is left over after the organic, analytical, and physical chemists get through picking over the periodic table.
Mercury: (From L. Mercurius, the swift messenger of the gods) Element No. 80, so named because of the speed of which one of its compounds (calomel, Hg2Cl2) goes through the human digestive tract. The element is perhaps misnamed, because the gods probably would not be pleased by the physiological message so delivered.
Monomer: One mer. (Compare POLYMER).
Natural Product: A substance that earns organic chemists fame and glory when they manage to systhesize it with great difficulty, while Nature gets no credit for making it with great ease.
Organic Chemistry: The practice of transmuting vile substances into publications.
Partition Function: The function of a partition is to protect the lab supervisor from shrapnel produced in laboratory explosions.
Pass/Fail: An attempt by professional educators to replace the traditional academic grading system with a binary one that can be handled by a large digital computer.
Pharmacology: The use of rabbits and dogs as guinea pigs. (See also CLINICAL TESTING, TOXICOLOGY).
Physical Chemistry: The pitiful attempt to apply y=mx+b to everything in the universe.
Pilot Plant: A modest facility used for confirming design errors before they are built into a costly, full-scale production facility.
Polymer: Many mers. (Compare MONOMERS).
Prelims: (From L. pre [before] + limbo [oblivion]) An obligatory ritual practiced by graduate students just before the granting of a Ph.D. (if the gods are appeased) or an M.S. (if they aren't).
Publish or Perish: The imposed, involuntary choice between fame and oblivion, neither of which is handled gracefully by most faculty members.
Purple Passion: A deadly libation prepared by mixing equal volumes of grape juice and lab alcohol.
Quantum Mechanics: A crew kept on the payroll to repair quantums, which decay frequently to the ground state.
Rate Equations: (Verb phrase) To give a grade or a ranking to a formula based on its utility and applicability. H=E, for example, applies to everything everywhere, and therefore rates an A. pV=nRT, on the other hand, is good only for nonexistent gases and thus receives only a D+, but this grade can be changed to a B- if enough empirical virial coefficients are added.
Research: (Irregular noun) That which I do for the benefit of humanity, you do for the money, he does to hog all the glory.
Sagan: The international unit of humility.
Scientific Method: The widely held philosophy that a theory can never be proved, only disproved, and that all attempts to explain anything are therefore futile.
SI: Acronym for "Systeme Infernelle".
Spectrophotometry: A long word used mainly to intimidate freshman nonmajors.
Spectroscope: A disgusting-looking instrument used by medical specialists to probe and examine the spectrum.
Toxicology: The wholesale slaughter of white rats bred especially for that purpose. (See also CLINICAL TESTING, PHARMACOLOGY).
X-Ray Diffraction: An occupational disorder common among physicians, caused by reading X-ray pictures in darkened rooms for prolonged periods. The condition is readily cured by a greater reliance on blood chemistries; the lab results are just as inconclusive as the X-rays, but are easier to read.
Ytterbium: A rare and inconsequential element, named after the village of Ytterby, Sweden (not to be confused with Iturbi, the late pianist and film personality, who was actually Spanish, not Swedish). Ytterbium is used mainly to fill block 70 in the periodic table. Iturbi was used mainly to play Jane Powell's father.
Chemistry song 13
|O Come All Ye Gases
O Come all yea gases
O come yea, o come yea
O come yea in moles
6 x 10 to the 23rd
O molar mass and molecules
O volume, pressure and temperature
O molar volume of gases at S.T.P.
Chem one-liners 01
|Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon compounds. Biochemistry is the study of carbon compounds that crawl. -- Mike Adams
Chemicals: Noxious substances from which modern foods are made.
Remember, if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate!
There is the joke about the homeopath who forgot to take his medicine and died of an overdose.
How many physical chemists does it take to wash a beaker?
None. That's what organic chemists are for!
It is disconcerting to reflect on the number of students we have flunked in chemistry for not knowing what we later found to be untrue. --quoted in Robert L. Weber, Science With a Smile (1992)
Physical Chemistry is research on everything for which the negative logaritm is linear with 1/T -- D.L. Bunker
Q: What weapon can you make from the Chemicals Potassium, Nickel and Iron?
The biology song 04
|A Mad Scientist Christmas
Twas the night before Christmas and all thru my house,
Not a specimen was stirring, not even a louse.
The test tubes were capped and the rat cages closed,
The mold cultures fuzzy, the mice in repose.
The oven kept warm the ebola and pox,
I still need to locate my husband's clean socks...
But that has to wait till tomorrow, I know;
My buggies still need that much more time to grow.
When from the kitchen came a massive explosion,
I leapt from my bed in perpetual motion.
Grabbing my lab coat I pulled on my pants,
Struggling into them a sick sort of dance.
With fury and haste I put on a shirt,
Running out of the bedroom on feet black with dirt.
Buttoning my lab coat and donning a mask,
I ran into the kitchen holding an Erlenmeyer flask.
I nearly passed out when the man who I saw,
dressed in containment gear sealed without flaw,
Held high a huge sack with his arm stiff and straight,
I could tell he must have a hard time with his weight.
Through the mike from his suit he said without pause,
"Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas, I'm Hanta Claus!"
Over his shoulder he hefted the sack,
We walked into the living room, I offered a snack.
He took it and smiled, placed the sack by my bench,
Instantly I noticed the Clostridium stench.
Brimming with joy, I cried out with glee,
"Did you bring all of these germies for me?"
"Oh yes," said Hanta, "I must show propriety;
By bringing you microbes, I'm saving society.
"You are the only one who loves these diseases.
Therefore I'm glad to oblige who it pleases."
Delirious with excitement I sat by his side
While he gave me a year's stock of microscope slides,
And pasteur pipettes, drug resistant bacteria,
Such as staph, strep and cultures from the genus Neisseria.
The gleam in my eyes caused the house to be lit,
The moment he gave me a gram-staining kit,
Clostridium tetani, perfringens and sporogenes,
Salmonella typhi and Streptococcus pyogenes!
Plus viruses known to produce hepatitis,
Herpes, and rabies, yellow fever and meningitis!
But that was not all, he had parasites too,
Plasmodia, trypanosomes and schistosomes true!
Tapeworms and roundworms, plague-carrying fleas.
How sincerely generous, Hanta did aim to please!
At long last he said he must now go away,
His sled was experiencing radioactive decay.
"Thanks for the presents," I said, shaking his hand,
"They'll keep me off the streets, you understand."
Hanta Claus smiled and bid me goodnight,
Shouting "Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good blight!"
The Cesium song 05
|Cesium (Burning in the Dead of Night)
Cesium burning in the dead of night.
Take your sky blue lines and start to shine.
All my life,
I was only waiting for the moment you were mine.
Cesium burning on a lake of ice.
Lift your glorious flame up to the skies.
All your life,
You were only waiting for some water to arise.
Give your light to this coal black night.
--- Songs of Cesium #133
Very dangerous mix
|This was a story told to us by our chemistry master at school. A female student wished to make some potassium hydroxide solution (aqueous) and decided to throw a large lump of potassium into a bucket of water.
Her professor observed what she was about to do, out of the corner of his eye and hurried towards her, and after confirming this was what she was intending to do, asked her first to stir the water in the bucket for five minutes before adding the potassium.
She was puzzled and ran after him to ask the purpose of this action.
'It will give me time to get away' said the professor.