Posts Tagged ‘drinks’

Alcoholic art, crystals of liquor

// July 12th, 2011 // 2 Comments » // Just for Fun, Science Art

So it’s appropriate that I’m a little bit tipsy while writing this.

Alcohol under a microscope! That’s today’s post. BevShots take photographs of alcohol crystallized on a slide, shot under a polarized light microscope. It can take up to four weeks for the alcohol to dry completely on the slide. It’s art, distilled. And quite magnificent.

Margarita

Mmm margarita. And do you like pina colada?

Pina colada

What pretty rum. I think the citric acid helps. Anyone for a pint?

English oatmeal stout

Bevshots sell the pics (there’s heaps) as metallic prints, on canvas or as merchandise – like hip flasks, for example. Look, I’m not big on promoting items, but these would make a sweet gift for a 21st birthday. They’re stunning, and only $28. It’s a nice personal touch if you know their favourite drink.

Oh, and vodka shot glasses! So cool…

Vodka shot glasses

There’s even an iPhone app, so you can pick your poison and see the bevshots version. I imagine this will increase your popularity and attractiveness with every drink. Kind of like beer glasses.

Isn’t this just the best mix of science, alcohol and art? They should be paying me for this kinda publicity (feel free to send me a gift, guys!)

Sometimes scientists just have to douse experiments in alcohol

// January 15th, 2011 // 1 Comment » // Recent Research

Superconductor supermarket

Superconductor supermarket. Image by andreasmarx

In which scientists get drunk and pour their beverages on compounds to create superconductors.

It’s no secret that I cook better with wine. I’m not just talking about a dash of red in pasta sauce or half a bottle of cheap white in risotto. I mean, when I’m tipsy I’m generous with the flavours and cook in a twirling, happy sashay of creation. But who knew it was the same with science?

Superconductors are metals at very low temperatures (6 Kelvin) which gain certain properties: Namely that the normal resistance drops to zero and they start conducting electricity incredibly well.

The experiment conducted at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan involved soaking compounds (powders of iron, tellurium and tellurium sulfide) in different fluids, then cooling them and testing how well they conducted electricity.

First experiment: pure water. Results = boring. (10% superconducting volume fraction)
Second experiment: water plus ethanol. Results = yawn. (11%)
Third experiment: pure ethanol. Results = worse than water. (6%)

At this stage, I can only assume the scientists got drunk. They got a variety of different drinks (whiskey, sake, wine, etc) poured out 20 mL shots and soaked the compound in their boozy concoctions. When they tested conductivity, the results were surprising. Whiskey did well, beer did better, and red wine was streaks ahead with a whopping 63% of the material showing superconductive properties. For some reason commercial drinks created better superconductors than pure ethanol and water.

Here’s a graph of the results.

superconducting drinks

Graph by Keita Deguchi

As you can see, red wine is a clear winner, followed by white wine, beer, sake and other commercial drinks. At the bottom is boring old ethanol/water. Clearly what was lacking was a bit of FLAVOUR. That, or oxygen, particulates… actually they don’t know why it happened. More experiments need to be performed. Probably every Friday night from 3pm.

Still, it’s a fantastic case of serendipity. Plus, once the results were in, all the drinks were ALREADY THERE for celebrating! Sweet!

The paper is available free from arXiv – Deguchi K. et al “Superconductivity in FeTe1-xSx induced by alcohol”






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