Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Too Cool for School

The following article in the New York Times (registration required) is an excellent summary of a brilliant synthesis of laboratory geology and food, two of my favorite subjects. It describes one of the demonstrations given at the 2005 fall AGU meeting, the abstracts for which can be viewed here. The experiment demonstrates how crystal nucleation and morphology can change the mechanical properties of fluids. They actually have the students thin-section their fudge to look at the sugar crystals.

Absolutely brilliant. When I was teaching first year practicals as a grad student, we would freeze (plastic) bottles of coke down to dry ice temperature, and then demonstrate fractional melting by extracting the liquid and gas components as they melted. This is a way better demonstration.

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