COLUMBUS, OH—In what was interpreted as a final attempt to foster scientific curiosity in high school juniors, James A. Garfield Memorial High School chemistry teacher Gary Holbrook encouraged his students Monday to fuck around with Bunsen burners in a last-ditch effort to prove that science is cool. “As you can see by my demonstration, you can pour any chemicals you’d like into your round-bottomed flask—sulfuric acid, nitrogen, mercury—and just crank up the heat,” said Holbrook, evidently hoping to instill an appetite for science in his students by allowing them to just open cupboards in the lab and mix up whichever chemicals seemed the coolest to them. “Oh, also—if you’re curious about relative specific heats of common household materials versus those of organic tissues, you and your lab partner can stick a paperclip over the flame, and take turns branding each other. Really get that thing glowing hot. As far as we know, this is how all great chemists discovered their passion for lab work.” Holbrook declared his approach a qualified success after his students became sufficiently interested in science to ignite a hydrogen-filled balloon, burning down the school laboratory.
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