Sunday, September 14, 2014

Science and Wisdom

Scientists also want to help and get in on the action of the Ice Bucket Challenge, an online method of raising money for an organization that sponsors research into curing amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease).

Stephen Hawking, the world famous physicist who has suffered from ALS since he was 21, recorded a video in which he points out that a bout with pneumonia made it "unwise" to dump freezing water on his head. So his three children did it for him.

But a University of Toronto chemist took the challenge in a distinctly unwise manner, pouring liquid nitrogen over his head after warning watchers not to do it themselves. Liquid nitrogen is sometimes used to freeze warts, but a specific reaction called the Leidenfrost effect can protect the skin against the damaging cold substance.

Not for very long, though, as the dancing chemist demonstrates in his video. Sometimes knowledge does not equal wisdom.

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