Scientists have a passionate interest in the chemistry of alcohol. This I discovered at a meet-the-lecturers function when I arrived at Melbourne Uni over 30 years ago. My Organic Chemistry lecturer, Dr Merewether with grey beard and monocle was drinking beer from a 500 ml beaker.
While the research students, who all looked like Buddy Holly in lab coats, mixed Screwdrivers using pure Ethanol procured from the adjoining lab. They insisted drinking pure ethanol avoided hangovers. This seemed increasingly unlikely as one lab coat clad lad after another proclaimed ‘Thiz evanol is good shtuff.’
The only other drinks on offer were beer and, of all things, sherry. I don’t drink beer. And you cannot get drunk on sherry. Or, at least, I can’t. After two glasses sherry begins to taste like sweetened battery acid. And you can’t force another drop down your throat.
Good evening parents and welcome to this Information Night about our exciting new subject Everyone-Has-A-Say Science. In this Year 7 program we don’t just respect individual beliefs; we embrace them. And here are the fascinating topics your children will study this year:
Matter: Matter is made up of small particles called atoms. Atoms can combine to form big molecules like DNA and big crystals, which have mystical powers. Crystals bestow good fortune and can, obviously, help with homework.
Light: Light is a form of energy. Each colour of light has a different wavelength. A crystal with magical powers can split white light into different colours to form a rainbow. A rainbow is a sign of good luck or that it’s been raining. People’s heads can also split light into different colours. This is an aura. An aura is a person’s energy field. Red is for anger; while the flashing red aura means ‘Warning: I’m about to explode’.