Once again the Fortean Times breaking news section brings real news of interest. Today’s gem relates to a fascinating discovery in the field of superconductivity that may not have happened had the scientists not bee steaming drunk!
According to io9.com Yoshihiko Takano and other researchers at the National Institute for Materials Science in Japan were trying to create a certain kind of superconductor by putting a compound in hot water and soaking it for hours. They also soaked the compound in a mixture of water and ethanol.
Things were going well so the scientists decided to have a little party featuring sake, whisky, various wines, shochu (this one’s new to me), and beer. At a certain point, the researchers decided to try soaking the compound in the various drinks they had to hand and seeing how they compared to the more conventional soaking liquids.
When they tested the resulting materials for superconductivity, they found that the ones soaked in commercial booze came out ahead. About 15 percent of the material became a superconductor for the water mixed with ethanol, and less for the pure water. By comparison, Shochu jacked up conductivity by 23 percent and red wine managed to supercharge over 62 percent of the material.
None of this would have happened if the scientists hadn’t had a party and gotten pissed. Well done those men!