The Ultimate Scientific Dictionary

Activation Energy: The useful quantity of energy available in one cup of coffee. Atomic Theory: A mythological explanation of the nature of matter, first proposed by the ancient Greeks, and now thoroughly discredited by modern computer simulation. Attempts to verify the theory by modern computer simulation have failed. Instead, it has been demonstrated repeatedly that computer outputs depend upon the colour of the programmer’s eyes, or occasionally upon the month of his or her birth. This apparent astrological connection, at last, vindicates the alchemist’s view of astrology as the mother of all science. Bacon, Roger: An English friar who dabbled in science and made experimentation fashionable. Bacon was the first science populariser to make it big on the banquet and talk-show circuit, and his books even outsold the fad diets of the period. Biological Science: A contradiction in terms. Bunsen Burner: A device invented by Robert Bunsen (1811-1899) for brewing coffee in the laboratory, thereby enabling the chemist to be poisoned without having to go all the way to the company cafeteria. Butyl: An unpleasant-sounding word denoting an unpleasant-smelling alcohol. CAI: Acronym for “Computer-Aided Instruction”. The modern system of training professional scientists without ever exposing them to the hazards and expense of laboratory work. Graduates of CAI-based programs are very good at simulated research. Cavendish: A variety of pipe tobacco that is reputed to produce remarkably clear thought processes, and thereby leads to major scientific discoveries; hence, the name of a British research laboratory where the tobacco is smoked in abundance. Chemical: A substance that: 1. An organic chemist turns into a foul odour; 2. An analytical chemist turns into a procedure; 3. A physical chemist turns into a straight line; 4. A biochemist turns into a helix; 5. A chemical engineer turns into a profit.

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