Two things I never thought would happen:
1. I’m studying in a bar, and
2. I am upset that I won’t be able to take a Chapter Test today.
The only internet connection available this week is at The River’s Edge Bar, so I am studying with bikers and banjo players. I have finished the first section, General Science Knowledge, but the link to the online test is not working. I console myself by moving on to one of my favorite topics: Atomic Theory.
I am astounded to learn that the nature and behavior of atoms were discovered by reason in 500 BC, thanks to Democritus. Unfortunately, his theory was discounted and ignored for 2000 years, thanks to Aristotle. Philosophy trumped Science, and not for the last time. The subsequent journey to discover the the true nature of the atom was epic and surreal; equal parts Kafka and Tolstoy.
After Democritus, we wrote laws about elements, atoms, and chemical reactions. We electrified solutions and we shot rays though tubes of gas. We discovered that atoms aren’t solid, like pudding, but they do have particles like raisins. And these raisins don’t orbit the nucleus in circles but we can predict where that are most likely to appear. The discovery that no novelist could have imagined, however, is that most of these raisins carry a charge (positive or negative). This means that at the tiniest level of our physical being we are all held together with the same force: electricity.
Me, The Sheldon Mountain Boys, Harley, and Davidson are all built of the same stuff and bound by the same glue. I can hear Aristotle rolling in his grave.
Next Up: The Test
- Excerpts from The Mad Scientist’s Handbook: The Human Recipe (blogs.scientificamerican.com)