Apr 262016
 
Sexy Science Party

We are told as scientists to engage with the public. We are told to make our science “sexy” and relevant to a general audience. For some, that’s easy. Their science is naturally appealing to the public and their research has a simple but futuristic sounding application, like everlasting toilet paper or a contact lens that detects evil. The problem is, here are the things the general public google:

  1. Justin Bieber
  2. Sex
  3. Ice Bucket Challenge
  4. Boobs
  5. Robots
  6. IPhones
  7. How to be lazy and not fat
  8. Twerking
  9. Cats
  10. The lyrics from the famous song in Aladdin

For most scientists, it’s hard to make that small but important discovery sound like you’ve just solved the world’s erection problems. This is where the media department of a university can come in handy. They’re able to take any research from any field and write an article to make you sound like the savior of mankind. Science, which is the the systematic application of knowledge based on evidence, is not allowed to overstate it’s findings in papers. On the other hand, scientists are more than happy to get their 15 minutes of fame and nod along as the journalists ask: “could your findings be used to create a whole new world to be viewed from a magic carpet?”. Are we so desperate to get the names of our universities in glossy print, alongside the photoshopped image of Katy Perry, that we are are okay with stretching the truth to the point of lying?

Every scientist can become indoctrinated by their own research. We have to tell funding bodies how awesome out research is, and if you keep telling people how awesome you are, at some point you’ll probably start to believe it too. Unfortunately, just like J. Lo’s left buttock, just because you see it in the newspaper it doesn’t mean it’s real.

To help all budding researchers and media whores, here is a list of applications that will help you grab your the attention of your audience. Note: doesn’t have to be an actual application of your research.

  • Cancer Cure (particulary childhood cancer in orphans)
  • Iron man (or any robot super hero)
  • Longer lasting (insert anything here)
  • Invisibility cloak (perverts)
  • Helping cute dogs (obviously)
Apr 112016
 

Ask any scientist how their research is going and, after they have stopped day dreaming about what it would be like to have a stable job, you’ll normally get an answer which alludes to “I’m dead inside and there aren’t enough drugs in my body for me to be able to lie to you” or put another way “fine thanks”.

Scientific progress is slow, painful (at least for those at the lab bench) and sometimes soul destroying.  Scientists will spend days/months/years repeating failed experiments or conducting iterations of the same experiment just so they can publish that next paper. Just like a slot machine, with enough persistence and luck, science will occasionally reward you with a payout. The payout takes the form of a piece of data that you can take to your supervisor and shout in their face “THERE IT IS, IS THIS WHAT YOU WANTED?” to which they will respond “why are you in my house so late and who let you in?”

Why then, if failure is one of the main themes of science, do we not build resilience into our budding scientists? Even undergraduate experiments are set up to always succeed. This does nothing to actually prepare young people for a career as a scientist. All this teaches prospective scientists is that science is fun and always works – ask any PhD student what they think of science and I am certain that the word fun will not feature. Science is rewarding, sure, but most of the time it is definitely not fun in the same way liquid nitrogen ice cream is. So, can we not change the message from science is fun to science is rewarding? We have done it with sport; we tell kids all the time that sportsmanship is about being a gracious loser and not chucking a tantrum or referring to the other team as stinky poo faces.

It is therefore very important that science outreach teams and undergraduate experiments feature failure in their activities. However, the failures shouldn’t be highlighted as something bad, but rather as a way of getting students to problem solve. That way, if they decide to take the red pill and enter the lab as a research scientist they’ll be ready for some of the harsh realities of scientific research and beat all those over stinky poo face scientists.

 

Apr 042016
 

These worksheets are designed for undergraduate students who want practice questions that are much more interesting than the ones in the text book.

DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED!

1.  Write the equilibrium expression (keq) for the following reaction:

2SHITe + CoCK → (SHITe)2CoCK

2. Consider the following endothermic reaction

FUCK + YOU → FUCKYOU

Predict the effect on the equilibrium position of

(a) increasing the amont of [FUCK]s you give

(b) increasing [FUCKYOU]

(c) Turning up the heat on your insults

(d) increasing the size of the flask that you keep your fucks in

3. During an acid trip, Ben asks you if life is in equilibrium with the world. Using examples from chemical equilibrium, provide an answer to blow his mind. Also, what is the best way to freak him out?

4. The Haber process is used to produce ammonia which is used to create fertilizer. This keeps food plentiful and allows people to literally eat themselves to death. Is it an endo- or exothermic process? If a person was to eat loads of KFC and fart in the reaction vessel what would happen to the equilibrium position? What is appropriate PPE for a fart based experiment?

N2 + 3 H2 → 2 NH3   (ΔH = −92.4 kJ·mol−1)

5. An alcoholic lecturer asks you: “an equilibrium constant with a value K > 1 means what?” How do you respond? and what do you buy  to bribe him to pass you in his subject even though you have no idea what he has said all semester?

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Mar 292016
 

These worksheets are designed for undergraduate students who want practice questions that are much more interesting than the ones in the text book.

DO NOT CONTINUE READING IF YOU ARE EASILY OFFENDED!

1. After years of practice, Fred’s anal cavity holds 5 L of liquid at body temperature (37°C). If Fred wanted to get off by exerting 3 atmospheres of pressure in his ass, how many moles of N2 should he use? It it something he should do regularly?

2. Susan has just bought an asphyxiation mask for a little breath play with her new partner. Once sealed around her neck it expands elastically with the amount of air that you fill it up with. If it is filled with 0.2 moles of air what is the volume of the mask? Should the warranty cover over inflation?

3. Arnold’s mum has a collection of 18 dildos that she keeps in a 10 L sealed bag. After a visit to her common interest group, she accidentally leaves the bag outside and 0.02 moles of moisture on the dildos evaporates. If the bag is 80ºC what is the pressure in the bag in kPa? How does it smell?

4. Beth has just bought a budget inflatable boyfriend. It takes 5 L and 0.02 moles of air to fill him up. When she is laid on top of “him”, the pressure goes up to 1.1 atm which, in combination with the vigorous movement, causes the temperature to rise. what is the temperature of the “man”. Should she buy the deluxe version?

5. Jeremy has always been interested in Brazilian fart porn. He decides to buy a balloon full of fart from his favorite actress. The balloon holds 0.01 moles of gas at room temperature. What is the volume of the balloon? Will it fit through the letterbox?

Click for answers:

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