Thursday, December 18, 2008

True Story: Happened to a Lecturer of a Lecturer of Mine

According to one first year chemistry lecturer who shall remain nameless (both to protect his identity and to avoid admitting I never knew the man's name) the discovery of phosphorus was a perverse and twisted affair.

It seems that the scientist in question inadvertently manufactured phosphorus by filling a bath tub with urine and leaving it to evaporate off for several weeks. He observed 2 notable properties for the resultant substance:

1 - It glows in the dark
2 - It causes a painful itching rash when applied to the genitalia.

Needless to say our interest in Chemistry shot up dramatically that week as we all attempted to imagine the kind of exhibitionist crackpot who thought it was a good idea to publish papers about the luminous excretion-derived chemicals he rubbed into his privates.

So was it true? or just a cautionary tale designed to stop us from running around naked in the labs?

Well at least there was a bathtub of urine involved.

by Jonathan Usmar

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